For the past five years, P-Dubs Grille & Bar in Stallion Springs has been more than just a restaurant.
It's been a place where family and friends go to meet, enjoy a meal and make new friends, says Carolyn Wiles, who nominated the restaurant for "Large Business of the Year" for 2017, an honor bestowed by the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce and Tehachapi News.
Current owners Kenny and Christy Harrison took over the restaurant three years ago from former owners Paul and Kristy Wheeler. Paul, who is P-Dub himself, now serves as executive chef.
The name of the restaurant comes from Paul's childhood nickname, which is a combination of his first initial, P, and a shortening of his last initial, Dub, for W.
Paul revealed his own funny bone by saying, "I didn't really agree with the name of the restaurant, initially, but I'm married, so I got out-voted."
Although the Harrisons have taken over the financial aspect of the business, Kenny said he leaves the day-to-day operations in the experienced hands of Paul.
"He (Paul) runs the back and does everything for the restaurant," said Kenny, adding with a chuckle, "I just hang out and get fed."
When Kenny found out he won the award, he said he was very excited, but kept the news to himself, which came as a surprise to others on the day of this interview.
"We work really hard out here, and everybody works really hard to try and make this a great place for the community. We are really proud of the fact that we have been recognized for the hard work that we have put in," said Kenny.
Since the Harrisons took over the restaurant, it has become a family affair, as Kenny enlists the help of his two daughters, Ashley Harrison-Ashmore and Alicia Harrison-Carvalho.
Said Ashley, "I remember when we first opened, everybody was like there is no way a restaurant out there is going to make it, and it has almost been five years."
Not only has the restaurant endured the remote location, it also continues to thrive.
Said Alicia, "We get bigger and bigger every year."
Some days, the restaurant is "bursting at the seams," said Kenny.
One of the reasons P-Dubs won the prestigious award was for its many contributions to the community.
In Wiles' nomination letter, she writes, "P-Dubs supports Teen Challenge, Relay For Life, Tehachapi Little League, MS Society, Tehachapi Pregnancy Center, Miss Tehachapi, Koinonia Family Services, Thunder on the Mountain and sponsorship of Gene Fife's race car, just to name a few. They are actively taking donations for the Patriotic Service Dog Foundation raising money for the Patriotic Service Dogs."
In return for donations P-Dubs accepts on behalf of and turns over to the Patriotic Service Dogs, customers receive an immortal gift. These gifts come in the form of the custom branding of the bar top surrounded by barstools at the back of the restaurant. Starting out as an idea, the owners decided to offer the branding of their bar.
Writes Wiles, "Several months and thousands of dollars later, the branding of the bar is a success. You'll see many tributes to servicemen and women, both in honor of and in memory of."
In addition to sponsorships, P-Dubs supports local events including the Tehachapi Rodeo, Beer and Wine Festival, Police Activities League, Tehachapi Car Club and T-Town Rumble. The restaurant provides free meals to veterans on Veterans Day as well as discounts to military personnel on Memorial Day and to first responders on the anniversary of 9-11.
The restaurant owners particularly favor anything that involves children.
Said Kenny, "They are our next generation, and that's the most important thing to me. Anytime we get approached for something for kids, we are in."
Wrote Wiles, "P-Dubs owners and staff are always friendly to those who visit, and you immediately feel the small town charm. They are good stewards in the community, and always willing to help others."
The restaurant serves what Paul calls "new American" food, as well as many of the tried-and-true classics.
"We do a lot of really great burgers, and we do weekly specials that we bring in on purpose just to mix it up because a lot of our clientele are two- or three-times-a-week people," said Paul.
P-Dubs also serves nothing but prime steaks and the freshest vegetables available, which are complemented by a full bar. Everything is cooked from scratch, which is a feat in itself in the very small, limited kitchen.
Said Ida Perkins, president of the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce, "Having the opportunity to recognize P-Dubs Grille & Bar for all they contribute to our community is such an honor for me."
P-Dubs Grille & Bar is located at 27725 Stallion Springs Drive, in Stallion Springs. For more information, visit the restaurant's Facebook page, or call 823-7777.
As recipients of the Large Business of the Year award, P-Dubs Grille & Bar will be honored at the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce's annual Installation and Recognition Gala on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Villa La Paz located at the National Chavez Center in Keene. Dinner tickets to "All That Jazz" cost $50.
During the evening, awards will also be given to Citizens of the Year Jim and Cheryl Wilson, and John Nelson of John the Plumber, named Small Business of the Year for 2017. Look for John the Plumber's story in next week's edition of Tehachapi News and at TehachapiNews.com.
To RSVP for the dinner, call the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce at 822-4180 by Jan. 13.