Don’t Be a Don’t Bee, Be a Do-Bee
Posted on Jan 9, 2018
Do-B’s Burger Barn, Philly Stop and Po-Boy Shoppe has become a local favorite and traveler’s delight on the East side of Emporia. Located at 704 East 12th Avenue, Do-B’s is just a minute or two off I-35 (take the Burlingame Road exit south to 12th Avenue, then turn right). The fabulous food and exceptional customer service earned this diner a coveted spot in Kansas Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Best Local Eats contest. That distinction came on the heels of being named Best Sandwich Shop in Kansas by Travel and Leisure Magazine.
When Daryn Bontrager opened Do-B’s in March 2011, he realized a long-time dream of owning a restaurant. While working at a local telecom company, in his free time Daryn worked on perfecting smoked meats and cooking for friends, competitions, and catered events. After his corporate job was downsized, he moved to Alaska for a couple of years where he took a job at a local burger shop in Anchorage. It was there that Daryn learned the ins and outs of running a successful restaurant and honed his culinary skills. When he returned from the Great White North, Daryn brought experience, business acumen, and a few top secret recipes.
Do-B’s extensive menu includes mouthwatering burgers as well as a variety of tantalizing Philly cheesesteaks and delicious Louisiana-style po-boys. The sweet potato fries earn raves as do the onion rings. Vegetarians will enjoy the homemade black bean burger which can be substituted in any of the burger options.
Sweet tooth? Creamy cheesecakes, thick milkshakes, and seasonal dessert selections top off your meal. Do-B’s also serves breakfast on Saturday mornings, offering another option for a special start to the weekend. Everything is made fresh when you order, and portions are generous, so bring your appetite!
Do-B’s is family-owned, and you can feel it in the details and care taken by the staff. Many of the recipes prepared are Daryn’s own, his Mom’s and his Grandma’s. Daryn’s wife and business partner, Leslie Lloyd, is continually updating the restaurant’s décor, transforming it from the generic fast food interior of the building’s past. Bright and clean, the interior has a vintage country vibe that’s something of a cross between your mother’s kitchen and your grandmother’s front porch. A large television mounted above the stainless steel counter plays kids’ movies – everything from The Goonies to Moana – on a loop. Outdoor seating is available for those wanting to enjoy a sunny day or traveling with pets.
The open kitchen gives guests a clear view of the people preparing their meals, all of whom are quick, cheerful, and skilled. Regulars are greeted by name and new guests are greeted like old friends. While you’re eating, you’ll get a visit from Daryn, Leslie, or even Daryn’s mom, Terry.
Even the name Do-B’s is a family reference: it’s a nod to Daryn’s initials as well as his love of Romper Room. “My mom said I watched Romper Room as a kid and would go around singing the theme song all the time. It’s ‘Don’t be a Don’t Bee, be a Do-Bee.’ I think that’s a great idea. Be a ‘doer’,” Daryn told The Emporia Gazette when the restaurant first opened.
Fortunately for all of us, this “doer” is living the dream and serving up some of the best burgers, cheesesteaks, and po-boys you’ll find along I-35.
Do-B’s is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call in orders ahead at 342-7294. For a full menu, visit www.do-b.com.