May 10, 2012 - By Joshua Scheer, Staff WriterBy Joshua Scheer
What was Austin's Steakhouse is now Archer's Buffet and Grill, under the ownership of Randy and Linda Archer.
The restaurant at 400 N. Federal Blvd. officially changed hands at the beginning of March.
Randy Archer had been partners with the previous owner, Gerardo Rico, in starting The Back Bar and Lounge, which is located at the rear of the restaurant.
"It was nice he gave us the first opportunity," Linda Archer said.
"He was good to his word," Randy Archer added.
Rico is no longer involved with the establishment.
"He's moved on to other things," Randy Archer said.
The new owners have stuck with the general concept that Austin's had, a buffet plus other menu items, but the Archers have begun making changes.
"We're taking baby steps," he said. "We're just going to be adding as we go."
"It's going to be trial by fire," Linda Archer said.
"The first thing I did on March 1 was put no smoking signs on the doors," Randy Archer said.
Another general change to protocol is that ordering no longer takes place at the counter. A host will seat customers who will order from their tables.
Steaks are no longer part of the buffet but can be ordered and the buffet added for an additional cost.
"We've upgraded the food," Randy Archer said. "We're trying to mix it up too."
He'd like for some of the items in the buffet to change on a daily basis so regular customers have a variety of options.
Drinks can be ordered from the lounge and consumed in the restaurant, and food from the restaurant can be ordered and eaten in the lounge.
And the Archers have a number of ideas of what they'd like to do in the future.
"We're really promoting local anything," Randy Archer said. "We want local beef, local vegetables, possibly mushrooms."
Soon, on Saturdays and Sundays, Archer's will host a breakfast buffet.
"We're planning a burger bar," Randy Archer said.
The idea is that customers will order a hamburger through the server, and then be able to dress it anyway they please at the burger bar."
Randy Archer said he's also trying to expand the catering side of the business, noting the ability to do offsite events like weddings or onsite meetings in a private sideroom.
The interior of the restaurant will continue get upgrades.
Archer's was closed for a week in March when the kitchen was torn apart for cleaning and replacing equipment, Randy Archer said. The biggest piece of equipment added was a broiler that he said will help expand the steak menu. Gas lines, plumbing and air conditioning were also improved.
"The theme is going to be hometown," Randy Archer said.
The couple wants to deck the walls with photographs of accomplished locals.
"It can be anyone that's made strides," Linda Archer said, noting it could be athletes or professionals. "We'd love people to come forward with their kids' achievements."
Archer's Buffet and Grill is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. each day depending on business. When the breakfast buffet is available, the restaurant will open at 6 a.m.
The restaurant can be reached at 856-1152.
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