Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 13

by Zach Smith | zsmith@ruralmissouri.coop
photos by Heather Berry | hberry@ruralmissouri.coop

For nearly 25 years catering clients and diners at
the new and old Bar X locations have sought her
out for massive slabs of hand-cut, slow-roasted
f the original Hughes Bar X Ranch was born out prime rib.
Each whole roast tips the scale at between 10
of necessity, it was reborn out of love. The downtown Denver, Missouri eatery that Charmayne and 15 pounds, and the Bar X serves 12 to 15
Hughes and her late husband, Donald, started each weekend. So huge are the cuts that prime rib
in 1994 fed a lot of hungry folks in north Missouri. is available in three sizes: a regular serving of 18
Today, it would seem the cattlewoman-turned- ounces, a half order at roughly 9 to 11 ounces and
FDWHUHUKDVQ·WORVWKHUORYHIRUFRRNLQJÀQHIRRG³ WKH NLQJ VL]H ³ DQ LQFKDQGDKDOIWKLFN VOLFH RI
beef. Served alongside a potato, salad and dinner
and lots of it.
After long days of working a hundred head of roll plus a side of horseradish and au jus, the meat
Black Angus on the farm in Denver, the couple LV MXLF\ DQG SDFNHG IXOO RI ÁDYRU WKDQNV WR &KDU
HYHQWXDOO\ JUHZ WLUHG RI WKH ORQJ GULYH WR ÀQG GLQ mayne's secret recipe.
"The secret to the prime rib is in the spices,"
ner. They bought the old downtown bank building
and for 13 years made a weekend routine of feeding &KDUPD\QHVD\VDGGLQJWKHWH[WXUHRIWKHSHUIHFW
hundreds of people in a town where the population slice is one you can cut with a fork.
If even half a helping of the mammoth cuts
is less than 50.
of prime rib or the roasted beef tenderloin
"That's when it came alive," CharAlbany
don't whet appetites, the seafood menu at
mayne remembers. "You unlock the
the Bar X rivals the steak options in numdoor, you better be ready."
ber and size. Truly gargantuan jumbo
The Thursday before Easter 2007, all
shrimp are served four ways: cold in a
RIWKDWFKDQJHG$ÀUHUDJHGWKURXJKWKH
shrimp cocktail, hand breaded and
Bar X that night, destroying the restaufried, boiled in spices or on a bed of
rant that had become a much-loved dinfettuccine as shrimp scampi. CharLQJÀ[WXUHLQWKHVPDOOWRZQDQGWKHVXU
PD\QHLVTXLFNWRSRLQWRXWWKDWWKH
rounding area. Along with it went a piece
fried shrimp, like the fried lobster
of Denver's history, a staggering number
tail and hand-cut steak fries, do not
RI WD[LGHUP\ PRXQWV VORW PDFKLQHV DQG
come pre-coated or precooked.
dolls Charmayne had collected over the years and
"They're very simple and very delicious, better
the business that had become the couple's passion.
"I got over it the best I could, but he asked me than any prefabricated thing," she adds. "We do
not to rebuild the place while he was alive because things the hard way around here it seems like, but
he didn't want to go through all that again," Char- that's the way I want it done."
The revered pan-fried walleye is another holdmayne says.
While she eventually recovered from the loss, over from the days when Charmayne and Donald
it would be more than a decade before the Bar X perfected their menu at the original restaurant in
Ranch reopened. When it did it was in the unlikeli- Denver.
":KHQ ZH XVHG WR JR ÀVKLQJ XS LQ WKH 1RUWK
HVW RI SODFHV IRU D EHHI KRXVH ³ D VTXDUH
foot former nursing home 12 miles south in Albany. Country and catch walleye, we couldn't wait to get
$IWHU H[WHQVLYH DQG LQWHQVLYH UHQRYDWLRQV &KDU it into a skillet with butter," she recalls. "We used to
mayne transformed one wing into a bar and lounge, KDYHDFRXSOHRINLQGVRIÀVKRQWKHPHQXEXWZH
another into motel rooms and the main dining hall never sold the others."
WLWKSRUWLRQVÀWIRUDNLQJRUTXHHQRIWKHUDQJH
into a restaurant specializing in giant portions of
surf and turf. The wallpaper pays homage to Don- it's no surprise that most folks prefer to take desald and Charmayne's family history, a love of car sert home with them, but few leave without it.
Charmayne prides herself on inch-and-a-half thick
racing and the establishment's beginnings.
"Up here that's what everybody eats," Charmayne pieces of chocolate and white cakes that she has
says. "We're all looking for a good steak somewhere. perfected over the years, but also whips up a sweet
treat from just about anything she has on hand.
That's what everybody wants."
An appetizer not to be missed is the cheeseball. Other favorite desserts include cheesecakes along
For those thinking of a deep fat fried cousin to moz- with coconut cream, banana cream and lemon
zarella sticks, think again. The heaping helping of meringue pies.
A regular meal at the Bar X is an event in itself,
pimento and cream cheeses are thick with dried
cranberries, peppers and green onions. Spread on yet even that is small potatoes when compared to
Charmayne's crisp homemade crackers, it's easy to the all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch or one of four
see why the spreadable delight has become so pop- holiday buffets held every year on Easter, Mother's
ular, particularly in the Bar X's lounge where heavy Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. That's when
Charmayne really puts on a feed: favorite dishes
appetizers are free on Thursday nights.
"It's been an adjustment for some people," Char- from the regular menu join made-to-order omelets,
mayne says with a laugh. "If they get here late and scrambled eggs and bacon plus more prime rib and
it's already gone, they're like 'Where's the cheese- a bone-in country ham on the carving table. A BelJLDQ ZDIÁH PDNHU DQG IXOO\ VWRFNHG WRSSLQJV EDU
ball?' It's become an item."
7KH PHQX DFFRPPRGDWHV IDQV RI ÀOHW PLJQRQ round out the midday offerings.
"(YHU\WKLQJLQH[FHVVµ&KDUPD\QHVD\V´7KDW·V
or Kansas City strip steaks, but Charmayne didn't
earn her local title of Prime Rib Queen by accident. the way we do it."

I

Below: "Everything in excess" has become something of
ERYRSJ½GMEPQSXXSEXXLI,YKLIW&EV<6ERGL8LIIRXVIIW
including the truly jumbo shrimp served four ways - shown
here in a classic cocktail - and the house speciality of prime rib
served in three sizes, are matched by the colossal homemade
desserts, such as chocolate cake.

Hughes Bar X Ranch
Specialties: Massive hand-cut, slow-roasted slabs of prime rib in three sizes, roasted beef tenderloins
and steaks; jumbo shrimp, fried lobster and pan-fried walleye; cakes, cheesecakes and pies.
Price: Appetizers from $6 to $16. Sandwiches from $12 to $16. Entrees from $16 to $38. Desserts $4.
Details: Lounge open Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. Restaurant open Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 or
10:30 p.m. Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Monday through Wednesday. Cash, check and credit
cards accepted. No smoking.
Directions: Located at 1405 E. Highway 136 in Albany.

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Contact: 660-726-2279 or 816-261-3268.
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Rural Missouri - December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2019

Contents
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Intro
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Contents
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 4
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 5
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 6
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 7
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 8
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 9
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 10
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 11
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 12
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 13
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 14
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 15
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 16
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 17
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 18
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 19
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 20
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 21
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 22
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 24
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 26
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 33
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 35
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 38
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover4
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