OGDEN — Much more of this, and the Stagecoach Restaurant is going to need one of those “As Seen on TV” logos.
Last year, the restaurant appeared as a diner in the fictional town of Maple Falls, Wyoming, for the Lifetime made-for-television movie “My Christmas Prince.”
And now, just last week, the Stagecoach acted as a stand-in for a scene set in a cafe in small-town Montana that will appear in an upcoming episode of Paramount Network’s fledgling series “Yellowstone,” starring Kevin Costner.
All that fame isn’t going to the heads of husband/wife owners Dustin and Morgan Rallison and their cousin/managing partner Corey Rallison. The Stagecoach owners are focused on offering a quality dining experience to both their regular customers and newcomers.
Still, they’re only-too-happy to point out the booth where Kevin Costner and Danny Huston filmed their scene last Thursday, and explain how it was shot multiple times. And with each take, Morgan Rallison says, Costner got a fresh cup of coffee.
“I kept one of his coffee cups he drank out of,” she confesses. “And, now I know how Kevin Costner likes his coffee.”
The Stagecoach Restaurant has long been known for filling, comfort foods, especially its breakfasts. The biscuits and gravy, some argue, are the best in Ogden. The omelets are perhaps the most popular item on the menu. And there are several off-the-menu items that in-the-know regulars swear by.
One of them is the Crunchy French Toast — basically, French toast covered in corn flakes.
“You wouldn’t think it makes a difference, but it adds a subtle difference,” Dustin Rallison said. “It gives it a sweet kick.”
Another popular off-menu breakfast item is the Chicken Enchilada.
“It’s one of the most-requested items to put on the menu,” Morgan Rallison said. “We’re like In-N-Out Burger — we have a secret menu.”
The Stagecoach serves breakfast all day, and the Rallisons say probably 60 to 75 percent of their daily sales are breakfast items. Also popular are their hamburgers.
The Stagecoach has been in its current location on Wall Avenue for about a dozen years now. The Rallison trio took over the restaurant about nine months ago, after growing up in the restaurant business. In their youth, the three worked at Stagecoach for grandparents Brent and Ethel Rallison, who owned the restaurant for 40-plus years.
“All of us worked here,” Dustin Rallison said. “We’d do dishes, peel potatoes, take the money, whatever we were told.”
Although they say their parents weren’t interested in the restaurant business, when the younger generation of Rallisons took over Stagecoach, they began making subtle changes to the restaurant.
“We haven’t changed the menu, but the food product has changed,” Dustin Rallison said. “We’ve improved the quality.”
The key to good food? Quality ingredients, Dustin Rallison says. It costs a bit more, but it’s worth it. They no longer use things like frozen meat, and they buy local, fresh ingredients whenever they can.
“Buy local, buy fresh, don’t buy cheap,” Dustin Rallison says.
“And, we don’t serve anything we wouldn’t want to eat ourselves,” Morgan Rallison adds.
Consistency is also important, Corey Rallison says. The primary cook at the restaurant has been with Stagecoach for about 25 years. They also have their own in-house baker to make fresh cinnamon rolls, pies, cookies, peach cobbler and more.
Even more changes are on the horizon for Stagecoach, not the least of which is tweaks to the menu, as well as a name change.
Four years ago, the Rallisons opened The Rusted Spoon, a restaurant on U.S. 89 in Perry. The eventual goal is to rename Stagecoach to match that Box Elder County restaurant, and to bring the two menus into alignment.
But the Rallisons are approaching the transition slowly, in honor of their core group of customers. They estimate a full 50 percent of their business are regulars they know by name.
Still, as the older generation begins to pass away, the Rallisons say they have to appeal to a younger crowd who want a different menu. They expect to be offering lighter, healthier fare on the menu in the coming year.
“For us, we’re always looking to find the sweet spot to serve the guy who’s been coming here forever, but also attract, like, this lady who doesn’t want everything smothered in gravy,” Dustin Rallison said.
And by next summer, the Rallisons expect the Stagecoach Restaurant will have been re-christened The Rusted Spoon.
But whatever name the restaurant goes by, Morgan Rallison knows one thing:
The coffee is Kevin Costner-approved.