Friday, January 27, 2023

Robin’s 290 Grill serves up cooked-to-order Southern comfort fare

May 6, 2012  

Robin Collins, owner of Robin’s 290 Grill. Collins had been in the mortgage business for over two decades after a stint in the Navy where she was involved in anti-submarine warfare electronics.

With new regulations in the mortgage industry and the tough economy, “it was tough to get deals done. It wasn’t fun anymore.” Then last April’s Oak Hill fire hit about the same time a significant birthday loomed, and Collins was finally ready to take the plunge and find a new purpose in life.

Collins approached James Faron, owner of the 290 West Club in Cedar Valley, about opening up a restaurant for breakfast and lunch, before the bar scene gets going. She got the go-ahead and opened her restaurant last August.

The building has a long storied history dating back to the mid-1800s when it started out as the Fitzhugh post office. (The building was included in the story “Honky Tonks & Juke Joints” in the 2012 Gazette Oak Hill History issue.)

Arkansas native Collins describes her cuisine as “home-style Southern comfort food cooked to order.” Breakfast, which is served until closing time at 3 p.m. includes tacos, biscuits and gravy (just like her grandmother’s), pancakes and more. A favorite dish is the “Country Scramble” which includes potatoes, onions, ham and cheddar cheese. Every single day, Collins makes fresh strawberry jam to go with toast and biscuits.

The lunch menu includes burgers, sandwiches, soup and salads. Tuesday’s special is chicken and dumplings. Thursday’s special is meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and sauteed green beans. Collins plans to add more specials in the coming months.

Everything that comes out of the kitchen is made with fresh ingredients— nothing comes out of a can or is frozen. “Well,” Collins admitted, “I do use canned tomatoes in my chicken tortilla soup.”

On Sundays, Collins adds eggs benedict to the breakfast options. “I give it a bit of a Southern twist with Smithfield ham and a fried egg,” she said.

Collins has even started a garden out in back of the restaurant, growing tomatoes, green peppers, onions and strawberries that will be finding their way onto the menu. She is also considering jarring her strawberry jam and her hot sauce and selling it at the restaurant

Collins starts her workday at 4 am and is lucky if she is done by 4 pm. Monday, her one day off, is filled with all the chores she can’t get accomplished during the rest of the week. Despite all that, Collins says “I’m so happy, I’m in control and out of the corporate life.”


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