One of the measures of success is if people copy what you do. By that standard—and many more—Doe’s Eat Place has it made.
It has been replicated 14 times now, with the family business owned by the Signa family since 1941 now having 13 franchises in the Southeast and a second family-owned Doe’s in Paducah, Ky.
“We have been in business such a long period of time at the same location that everyone knows us,” said Dominick “Doe” Signa Jr., one of the owners along with his brother, Charles. “This used to be an old grocery story. Mom and daddy used to live here a long time ago. We have a lot of people who worked here when daddy was here who are still working here now.”
The family tradition continues today with a third generation in the kitchen. Doe Signa III and Charles Jr. broil up those steaks so good the reputation has gone far and wide. Also, another son of Charles Signa, Paul, runs Doe’s Eat Place in Paducah.
The Signas cut all their t-bones, porterhouses, ribeyes, sirloins and tenderloins right on site. Their oversized steaks are designed for sharing family style.
Doe Signa Jr. says they don’t marinate their steaks, and only use salt and a little Tony’s Creole seasoning on it. As they cook the steak, juice is dripped back over the steak.
Doe’s is really popular with locals, but the word has gotten around. In 2007, it was named One of America’s Top Restaurants by Bon Appetit Magazine. It has also been featured more than once on the The Food Network. The Guide to the Good Life named Doe’s as one of the top 10 steakhouses in 2008.
Doe’s is also known for its tamales. Doe’s recently was host to The Food Network’s Alton Brown while he was on the ‘Tamale Trail.” Brown and his crew tasted Doe’s homemade tamales, steaks and cheese-bacon fries for a special, “Feasting on Asphalt,” that aired Aug. 18.
Signa says tamales are something his father picked up to make a little extra money.
“It just took off really well,” he said. “We sell a lot of tamales. People come in and bring their pots to get them to go. Then we have gallon cans we can pack three dozen in, if they don’t have a pot. Tamales in Greenville are like barbeque in Memphis. A lot of people sell tamales in this town.”
If you aren’t in the mood for tamales and steak, other great menu choices are shrimp, catfish, gumbo, homemade chili and spaghetti.
The crowds are big and versatile. Doe’s is the kind of place where locals can be assured they will see someone they know while having a meal. It is popular with the local medical community and with farmers. It also draws from afar with people often flying in from Texarkana, Ark., for a meal. Jerry Jones, owner of Dallas Cowboys, was in recently for the second time.
»» Tidbits: Doe’s Eat Place, 502 Nelson St, 662-334-3315, Open Monday-Saturday 5:30 to 9 p.m., website: http://www.doeseatplace.com/; Average price of a meal for two: $90.
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