Hunger Games: Family finds fresh food filling key niche in Killdeer

Video games are one of the staples for the popularity among younger customers, according to the owners of the Nana Lil’s restaurant in Killdeer. Herald photo / Brad Mosher

Nana Lil’s isn’t hungry for business.

Hungry is it’s business and it has been for more than a decade.

By Brad Mosher

The Herald

It has been there for the oil boom where workers can come in to the small storefront location on Railroad Avenue in Killdeer.

For Lillian Hoffman, it has been a family business, literally.

In late June of 2005, the business opened, offering fresh food with fresh ingredients and lots of of it, Hoffman said with pride.

Now, the only thing that is changing is the interior of the restaurant.

“We started in May of 2018,” she said Monday, discussing how the restaurant hopes to finish up renovations by its anniversary in late June. “We are going to finish up the game room and get the flooring done in the next two to three weeks.

“Then we are going to be getting in two pool tables and an air hockey table. We are going to add some games here in the near future, too,” she added.

In addition to serving regular customers, sometimes oil field companies will come to restaraunt for meetings, Hoffman added.

One of the busiest days is on Sunday, when they offer a Sunday buffet, she said. “We do a special every day and on Sundays, there is the buffet from 11 to 3.”

According to Hoffman, the variety of choices in the restaurant is by design.

“We have ice cream. We have our specials and Sunday’s buffet – usually chicken, mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables and dessert,” she said.

A large array of food choices and daily specials have kept Nana Lil’s popular for the last 13 years, according to the owner and namesake. Herald photo / Brad Mosher

For almost the last year, the restaurant has been slowly upgrading the loccation.

“We have been doing painting, the floors and other things. But the main thing,” she said. There also has been other changes. “We used to have Coca-Cola out front but we have changed all that out.

“We have changed quite a bit,” she added.

Hoffman said that her customers have really liked the changes.

“They are pretty amazed. They like the changes. They like the colors.

“We have got a lot of positive comments back,” she added.

But she admits there are still more changes in store, especially in the back room where the video games and additional tables are. She just wants to make sure that they are finished with everything before their 14th anniverary, just before the Fourth of July.

When she started the restaurant almost 14 years ago, it was a family business and just a block away from where her husband worked in the Killdeer Police Department.

Now, the family ties are down to just two on her workforce of more than a dozen. “It is my sister and my daughter right now.

“When I first opened, we had like six kids working here. But, they all grew up, moved away, got married.”

The most popular item on Nana Lil’s menu has been consistently the burgers over the years, Hoffman explained.

“We sell a lot of bacon cheeseburgers.

“We do quite a bit of salads, too,” she said.

With oilfield crews sometimes coming in en masse for a meal, the staff has met the challenge, Hoffman said. “We sometimes serve 45 to 60 burgers at a time.

“We get some large orders and I get some catering on the side for the oil field companies.

“Sometimes, they will call the day before.”

The restaurant can still handle the walk-in customers at the same time, she added. “We just keep going. We just keep cooking.”

Looking ahead, Hoffman said she just wants to get the renovations finished.

“I haven’t really thought about anything beyond that,” she said.

When it comes to specials, there is no consistent special for every day. They change the specials from day to day and week to week, she explained.

So far, Hoffman said there are no plans fr a grand re-opening celebration to mark the end of the renovations.

“Our anniversary is June 28 and we usually do something every year on our anniversay date,” she explained.

“When we opened just before the Fourth of July, it was very busy that first two weeks that we were opened,” she said.

Some things haven’t changed.

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