Bob’s Diner to be featured on America’s Best Restaurants

Shayne Mazur

Bob’s Diner & Bakery will receive a splash of national spotlight next spring when it appears in an episode of America’s Best Restaurants (ABR), a YouTube channel dedicated to finding unique restaurants across the United States.
ABR, which has a presence on video viewing sources such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, travels the country to help restaurant owners share their stories and promote their business. The channel releases a 15-25 minute episode almost daily.
Bob’s Diner is the channel’s fourth feature in Wyoming and first in Big Horn County. The three previous restaurants on ABR’s website are located in Laramie, Sheridan and Dubois.
Owners Robert and Deanna Skillman first saw the channel featuring restaurants on Facebook. They liked how professional the show looked and decided to apply near the end of June.
A Zoom interview with one of the show’s producers followed two weeks later.
“They base their decision on how unique your menu is,” Deanna said. “They also like to see businesses that are highly active in their communities. They want to know that you’re not just a restaurant, but that you have a story they can tell.”
Another massive factor in ABR’s decision is a restaurant’s online presence. Deanna said the channel went through their social media accounts, official website and customer reviews.
“It’s kind of interesting, because Ayden was happening at the same time, and so they were reading all of that as well,” she said.
Ayden, the couple’s son, spent nearly three months this summer contending with an E.coli infection in the children’s hospital in Denver. During that time, Deanna said, “People stepped up that we didn’t even know. We had people coming in helping wash dishes, wait tables. They were calling us asking, ‘Do you need help?’”
“They (ABR) were just amazed that we were staying open and continuing on despite everything else that was going on.”
The Skillmans went through four interviews in total, the fourth being in September where they received the good news.
“It feels like it will legitimize our business in a way that it hasn’t been yet,” Robert said. “Just being able to see us on a platform with an established viewership.”
ABR will film Bob’s episode in the second quarter of 2024, anywhere from April to June. The family will be notified one month in advance, and ABR will advertise their visit on the diner’s Facebook page.
Along with an owner interview, the Skillmans get to choose three to five food items to feature. While the couple is still debating, they said, “Definitely our from scratch pancakes,” and Robert added, “Probably the Angry Bob. It’s one of the burgers I came up with before we ever opened.”
The couple said they’re still working out whether to open during the filming process.
“It’s our choice. Our issue is that we’re obviously the ones who work it, so to be open might be tough,” Robert said.
Deanna added that a friend of theirs who had Food Network Magazine at their restaurant struggled with the “craziness” of staying open. At present, the couple hopes to arrange for a family to come help during filming.
Their episode will air two weeks after filming has concluded. The couple expects to host a viewing party, but it’s a far-off plan. They will also receive an official ABR window sticker and be listed on the website.
“Social media is where it’s at today,” Robert said. “If I’m watching ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,’ typically I’m watching it on TikTok. I’m not going to the TV for it, so I feel like America’s Best Restaurants is good because that’s where that will be.
“We know that tourists look at that stuff, and that’s where we make probably 70% of our business.”
The Skillmans said their ABR news has been met with “mixed reactions.” Robert explained, “There is a stigma that comes with being on a show. People expect extra quality. So we’re feeling a little bit of the pressure. We’ve got to make sure our game is top notch.”
The couple has long campaigned to be on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and hopes their ABR experience will act as a stepping stone.
“We’re excited about it. A little nervous. I’m sure once we have one under our belt, we’ll be ready for what’s next,” said Deanna.
Robert added that they’re eager for the opportunities their episode will bring to Greybull.
“It’s not just going to benefit us, it’s going to benefit Greybull, which is what we want because we love this town.
“When we opened, that was one of our goals, not just to have our own successful business, but to help bring business for everyone else, especially in the restaurant business. If Wyld Sage is doing well, then we’re also going to do well because that brings people to our street, so is CC’s, so is Los Gabanes. So I feel like as a community we can build each other up by bringing people in.”
The diner’s ABR announcement comes days before its three-year anniversary on Sunday, Dec. 3, which it will celebrate with an open mic night and Christmas karaoke.
“In the restaurant business, they say if you can make it past your third year, you’re doing well,” Robert said.
The Skillmans recently hosted an open mic night for the Kinane family and raised $600 to help their son Owen, who is battling B-cell leukemia. The event’s success has inspired them to host an open mic night for a different charity every month with the aim of supporting local families.
The proceeds from the Dec. 3 event will go to the Orr’s Hope Foundation, which provides assistance for Wyoming families with critically ill children. The foundation helped the Skillmans with travel expenses while they were taking care of Ayden in Denver.
Additional information about open mic nights and ABR can be found on Bob’s Diner & Bakery’s website and social media accounts.