Ko-Fields has become a go-to in the Prescott culinary lexicon. Since owner Becky Koger opened the restaurant in September of 2015 with business partner Kim Wingfield, the business has brought hot, home-cooked food to hungry customers from the surrounding area. The name of the restaurant is a portmanteau of the pairs’ last names (Ko-ger and Wing-field).
Koger says her restaurant roots run deep, starting with her family’s seafood restaurant near Bodcaw. Growing up around the food-service business, she gravitated toward that path herself once she became an adult. Koger married at 18, running a chicken-house farm with her husband. She opened a café in Prescott Flowers before going into business with Wingfield. Koger’s husband now runs a farm with cattle and timber, but she said he pitches in around the restaurant whenever she needs him. Their eldest daughter, now 23 years old, also works at Ko-Fields.
Those who’ve lived in the Prescott area for awhile probably remember Cox’s Red-E Mart that used to sit on the site Ko-Fields now occupies. The former gas station, Koger said, had sat vacant for almost three years before the pair opened their restaurant. The building interior, Koger said, looked nothing like it does now.
“We did all the remodeling ourselves,” she said, “We really wanted it to have a welcoming place where people could come and eat.”
While being a restauranteur in the era of COVID-19 has certainly come with challenges, Koger said that they’ve been blessed to remain open to serve customers.
“We actually put in our drive-through window about a year before the pandemic hit. It was really good timing,” she said. “It allowed us to go to drive-through only service until things calmed down, and now we’re blessed to be back with lobby service.”
Employee Renee Overton echoed that sentiment. “We love getting to serve our customers and, during all the ice a little while back, we really missed seeing people. You get to know the regulars here, and it really does start to feel like you’re friends with everyone who comes in the door.”
Several of the other employees felt the same, saying that they have come to recognize the vehicles that customers drive and that they can almost guess what they’ll order before they walk in the door, and that they notice when regular customers don’t come in for a while.
“I can get a phone call from a regular and, as soon as I realize who it is, I can often start writing down what they want before they tell me,” Koger said with a laugh. “You really do get to know people in this business. We’ve been known to call people if they don’t come in for a while, just to check on them.”
The family atmosphere doesn’t just extend to the customers. Every member of the staff agreed that they all feel like one big family at Ko-Fields, even going out together for birthday celebrations and bringing a positive energy of encouragement to those around them.
Employee Phoebe Parks remarked, “After years of working retail and being seen as just another employee, it’s really good to feel like a person here.”
Koger said that local favorites run the gamut for their customers. Lots of people, she said, come in for hamburgers, wraps, and salads, but the daily plate lunches are very popular, as are the homemade desserts. Other popular menu items include the chicken or steak quesadilla, grilled chicken salad, chicken tenders, and on Mondays the chicken-fried chicken. Some days, Koger said, their popularity gets the best of them.
“It can be difficult when you’ve got 25+ orders stacked up that you’re trying to fill. We try to have fast service, and a lot of our regulars have learned to call in during those times.”
The restaurant serves breakfast Monday through Friday, with employee Greg Dougan arriving between 5-6 a.m. to cook. Breakfast is served from 6-9 a.m., and then the crew usually gets together to eat around 10 a.m. to rally for the lunch shift, which is from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Thursday, Koger said, are a longer day for the staff.
“We’re open again in the evenings on Thursday, from 5-7 p.m. That’s when we do our seafood night. We have catfish and shrimp, a seafood platter, ribeyes. The steaks have been harder to get for a good price during COVID, so that’s unfortunate.”
While the hours of operation most days conclude in the early afternoon, many of the staff were thankful that they were able to finish work at a time that was convenient for picking their children up from school. It helps, they said, to know that they’re able to balance work and family life. Overton remarked that her husband had noticed a difference in her demeaner since she started working at Ko-Fields.
“He said, ‘It’s good to see you get home from work and not be all stressed out and bothered by things,’” Overton said. “It’s very good here. People are friendly, and I’m a people person. I really do look forward to coming every day.”
Koger also finds ways to give back to the community. She said that, in the past, they’ve donated gift certificates to charity auctions, donated to community meetings, and even take food to local families who might need it. She loves the business, she says, and wants people to know that Ko-Fields is very proud to be part of the Prescott community.
“We love our customers, we love our neighbors, and we love our Curley Wolves,” Koger said.
When asked about possibly expanding the business, Koger said they’ve kicked around ideas for merchandise, and she’s even been asked by people if they’re planning to open another restaurant in Hope.
“I’ve thought about it, but I’d definitely have to clone the crew I have here. They’re amazing and I don’t know if it would work without them.”