Feed Your Soul: Chief’s Hideaway

3091 Highway 80 West Calhoun
Tucked away off I-20 on US 80 in Calhoun, there is a small family diner that you will miss if you are not looking for it: Chief’s Hideaway restaurant.
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 7:13 PM CST
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CALHOUN, La. (KNOE) - Tucked away off I-20 on US 80 in Calhoun, there is a small family diner that you will miss if you are not looking for it: Chief’s Hideaway restaurant, owned by the Ortner family.

Most people who come here often keep coming back. Chief’s Hideaway General Manager Chelsea Ortner knows their regulars. “In just a minute when people walk in, literally all five of these tables are going to know each other.”

That’s part of what makes the place a hidden gem. The down-home family atmosphere is the main reason customers say they come here. Chelsea’s mom and dad started the place when she was in high school in 2003, and it was a regular hangout for the local high school.

“We were here for maybe 14 years,” said Ortner.

Then, Ortner’s parents’ house caught fire and they had to take a break in 2011. They closed the diner and rented the space.

A couple of restaurants occupied the space. Then, in 2019, she talked to her parents. “Then, when the last person left, I talked them into reopening,” said Ortner.

They kept the name Chief’s Hideaway because the community remembers it as the place everyone feels like family. The main reason it feels like that is because most of the staff is family.

“My mom and dad own the restaurant. So, Beverly and Jeff; my dad is the cook. Me, I wait tables and help them out. I have a niece that is in the back, so she helps cook. Oh, and I have a cousin that waits tables. We have one person that’s not, but you know he might as well be,” said Ortner.

Dina Shields comes in every Thursday, and she does things a little differently. “We rotate out which item we’re going to order. So, if we have seafood, then the next Thursday, we’ll have the steak,” said Shields.

I decided to order the steak. It had a great flavor. Her father Jeff seasoned it perfectly. They keep steak sauce on hand. You will not need it.

Save some room for dessert as well. Beverly has homemade desserts that you do not want to miss. They offer bread pudding, assorted flavors of pie, and so much more. There is something for everyone. One dessert favorite for most of the regulars is the strawberry shortcake; I recommend it.

The place itself feels like part of the family, and Chelsea already knows that she is the one to continue the legacy. “It’ll be up to me to keep it going one day,” said Ortner.

She wants to make sure this place will continue to feed your soul.

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