Written by Natalie Mikles, Tulsa World Newspaper
"I went to work when I was 8 years old," Baber said.
But don't feel too sorry for him. Baber has always loved working in the family business, Ron's Hamburgers and Chili.
Baber and his wife, Delana, will open the 21st Ron's restaurant in February at the corner of 15th Street and Denver Avenue, at the site of a former Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The restaurant will open once remodeling and construction is complete.
The Babers chose the location after a neighbor called them and suggested that the old KFC building would be a great place for a Ron's.
"There's really not a lot to eat around here. I see people getting hamburgers and sandwiches from (the convenience store) across the street all day," Michael Baber said. "Tons of people live and work around here, so I think it's going to be a good location."
The Babers plan to open the restaurant seven days a week, for lunch and dinner.
Delana Baber said she has heard plenty of positive comments about another Ron's opening in midtown. As south Tulsa becomes more saturated with commercial and retail development, midtown residents seem to appreciate new restaurants, she said.
The restaurant also may become the new haunt for longtime customers at the original Ron's at 3239 E. 15th St.
The family is considering closing business in the aging building, although they know some regular customers will be sad to lose their favorite hamburger joint. Michael Baber said opening at 15th and Denver may lessen the jolt of that loss.
He said the menu at the new restaurant will be true to the original. The only deviation from hamburgers and french fries will be salads and chicken.
The Babers said they never tire of eating at Ron's. Only once, after they sold a location to a franchisee, did they stop eating at Ron's for awhile.
"He went through withdrawals. He eats it every single day," Delana Baber said.
Delana Baber said customers' favorites are the same no matter the Ron's location. People come for the Ron's original hamburger, the chili cheeseburger and the sausage cheeseburger.
"People tell us they try to make the sausage cheeseburger at home and it's just not the same," she said.
Ron and Betty Baber started Ron's in 1975. All of their children work in the business, owning different Ron's locations throughout the Tulsa area. Ron's franchises are now scattered around Tulsa, as well as one in Texas and another in Bentonville, Ark.
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