The Divine Kitchen Story
a divine legacy
A Born Entrepreneur
Our dad, Don Divine, was a born entrepreneur. The gene was most likely passed down from our grandpa, Knute Divine, who owned many small businesses in our hometown of Parsons, Kansas. When dad was a boy, he devised many plans to create income. Selling penny candy, watermelons, and even fish bait at his dad’s gas station, he was always working on some idea to get rich or at least make a name for himself.
The Crumpet Hut
When dad was 15, he took that entrepreneurial spirit along with an inherited love for good food and marched into the local lumber yard and bought the supplies (on credit) for his first 10’ x 10’ root beer stand. He started construction with his uncle, Bob Divine, on his 16th birthday. The Crumpet Hut opened at 10th and Main in Parsons, Ks. on April 4th, 1953. Thus began a 37-year career of providing delicious food in multiple venues.
Don Divine’s Drive In
The Crumpet Hut proved to be so successful that he tore it down after two years to build a new 10’ x 20’ building to accommodate more business. This eventually became Don Divine’s Drive In, with carhops and the latest concept called a ‘Car Call Ordering System’.
A Divine Marriage
He employed his girlfriend, Carolyn Trammell, who was so fast at peeling potatoes he knew he couldn’t get along without her, so he married her in June of 1956. Mom was the consummate homemaker and worked hard raising us four kids, while dad continued to grow his business.
The birth of Sophisticated Chicken
Dad began creating his fried chicken breading recipe in the early 60’s and spent 5 years perfecting it. It became the main feature of his restaurants. In 1966, he held a contest to name the chicken and create a logo to go along with the name. The winning submission was ‘Sophisticated Chicken’ and included a chicken in a tuxedo holding a monocle.
The new Sophisticated Chicken brand was trademarked in 1968. Dad has had many requests over the years to share his recipe and has come close to letting it out. We knew there was always a possibility we would bring it back someday, so thankfully he has kept it in the family.
Don Divine’s Restaurant
Don Divine’s Restaurant opened in April of 1968. It seated 190 people with a coffee shop, dining room and carry out department. Dad was always on the cutting edge of the latest trends in the restaurant business including home delivery and one of the first self-serve salad bars created from a real antique railroad baggage wagon. The restaurant was wildly popular in the area and he expanded with locations in Coffeyville, Chanute, and Augusta, Kansas, as well as several additional franchise locations.
Don Divine’s Restaurant was a family place, where many people still have great memories of Sunday dinners, special occasions, date nights, sports team dinners, and summer jobs. You could always bet on one of the four of us Divine kids being there as much of our free time was spent at ‘the restaurant’. All of us kids – Christi, David, Paul, and Jane – worked in different positions during our teenage years. Paul started working at 12 years old and spent time at almost every position, from dishwasher and cook to waiter and host, as he learned the business alongside our dad.
Dad decided to ‘quit’ the restaurant business in 1979 when he relocated the family to Joplin, Missouri, to start a business selling restaurant equipment. That venture didn’t last long as he met Gary Shaw, an associate pastor at our church, and they began dreaming up a new concept for another restaurant. Dad and mom along with Gary and his wife Kathy partnered to open The Gazebo, a smorgasbord themed restaurant that still featured Sophisticated Chicken as well as live gospel music on the weekends. It was another first of its kind and became extremely popular for miles around.
Another divine Marriage
During this time, Paul was operations manager and became an expert in all things involved in the business, including recipe creation, catering, and staff management. Paul met his wife Teresa at The Gazebo while she was in college and worked as a waitress. They married in 1983.
Hanging up the apron
The Gazebo was open through 1988 when dad decided it was time to hang up his apron for good and move on to other endeavors.
Dad and mom were married for 63 years before mom went to be with Jesus in 2019. Along with us four kids and our spouses, they were blessed with 12 grandkids and 23 great-grandkids. Christi joined mom in heaven in 2019, as well. They will live forever in these memories and in our hearts. Dave has been a pastor for over 40 years and is committed to supporting this new Divine chapter through prayer and eating chicken. Dad now lives in Lee’s Summit, Mo, with his new wife Wanda Olmstead Divine. He can’t wait for the opportunity to relive some of his youth and, of course, eat the chicken!
Divine Kitchen is a joint endeavor of Paul and Teresa Divine and Jane Divine Henry and her husband, Darrin. We are extremely excited after all these years to carry on dad’s legacy and deliver Sophisticated Chicken and many of the Divine family favorite recipes to our friends and community. We look forward to the revival of this delicious food mixed with memorable experiences and lots of fun.
Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!