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Executive Q&A: Enid native holds the reins to Stables Cafe in Guthrie

Debbie Prather, who with her husband, Marc Prather, owns The Stables Cafe in Guthrie, always dreamed of running her own restaurant.
BY PAULA BURKES Modified: January 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm •  Published: January 20, 2013

Q: How'd you get into the restaurant business?

A: Jim Anderson, Marc's previous boss in Enid, introduced us to the late Texas banker Glen Lemon, who recruited us to run a Next Door restaurant across from his bank in Booker, Texas, a town of 1,000 in the Texas Panhandle, just below the Oklahoma Panhandle. We were only there a year and a half before Lemon died in a plane crash and the bank closed and foreclosed on its outstanding loans.

We kept the lights on for a year before leasing here in 1987; we bought 10 years later.

We'd scouted sites in Elk City, Clinton, Weatherford and El Reno before finding this place. For the first five years, Marc, I and one other person did most of the cooking. Customer favorites still include ribs, steaks, burgers, chicken-fried steaks and our salad bar.

Q: How'd you come to name your place The Stables?

A: It was originally a livery stable built in 1889, and we wanted to embrace the historic theme of Guthrie. Today, we display numerous original antiques from old signs and working Coca-Cola machines to shoeshine chairs and an Acton's neon sign from the old Acton's Furniture & Pianos store in Guthrie, established in 1889.

Q: So after your years of infertility, you had another child?

A: Yes. We went with friends to Las Vegas and I bought a magnetic bracelet there March 12, and Riley was born the following Dec. 12, after 12 years of marriage. Before we left Vegas, I spent $50 at a gift shop that qualified me for a free gift — a blue teddy bear.

Q: Then your husband had a major scare?

A: That's right. When Riley was about 4, Marc had ringing in one ear, which eventually led to a diagnosis of a fist-sized tumor in the membrane protecting his brain. Doctors here scheduled him for surgery, but told him to get his affairs in order. Then, less than a week before his scheduled surgery, I — on the Internet — found a doctor at Cedar Sinai in L.A. who successfully was doing endoscopic brain surgery.

On a telephone consult, the doctor told him he'd treat him as a brother and he'd live to fish with his grandson. That's all it took. He underwent two surgeries and then nine months later, when the tumor grew back (the residual on the brain stem couldn't be removed), underwent gamma-knife radio surgery.

Q: What's next for The Stables?

A: For one, we're planning a gift and souvenir shop in the back of our restaurant. It's all about entertaining. We don't consider our restaurant just a restaurant, but a dining experience. And that includes the decor, customized music and, soon, a gift shop.


Position: Co-owner, The Stables Cafe in Guthrie

Birth date: March 25, 1958

Family: Marc Prather, business partner and husband of 27 years; daughter Samantha Voss, 31, of Greeley, Colo., son Riley Prather, 15; and grandson, Jaden, 5

Education: Some coursework at the defunct Phillips University

Pastimes: Attending restaurant auctions and shopping for antiques


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