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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Crown Point Resort and Papa Dick's ready for the busy summer season

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Andy Garrison, the new manager of Papa Dick's Restaurant at the Crown Point Resort, makes his pizza crust by tossing and twirling it in the air. Garrison and his wife, Farrah, are prepared for Crown Resort's summer season, which begins Friday, May 11. Photo by Richard Irby [Order this photo]
A large crowd is expected on Saturday, May 12 as Horseshoe Bend holds its annual Dogwood Days Festival -- offering a variety of events for young and old.

But May 11 is also an important day for Horseshoe Bend. It is the official start of the Crown Point Resort's summer season. The resort, which is located on Ivory Lane on Crown Lake, serves couples and families who have purchased time share vacation plans. Since more than 400 people check in to Crown Point Resort each week, it is a great benefit to Horseshoe Bend businesses, and to businesses and attractions all over the area.

"We've been getting the property ready for our busy season," Crown Point owner Paul Behrendts told The News. "Over the past three years, we've spent over $400,000 remodeling the cabins and lake front condos. We've put in new marble counters, new televisions and other upgrades."

They won't be ready for this season, but two new four family condos are under construction on the resort grounds.

Two older buildings, built in the 1970's as part of the original development of the retirement community, have been demolished.

"We originally intended to renovate the units but, after seeing how much the buildings had deteriorated, we decided it would be better to replace them," Behrendts said.

At the Crown Point entrance, Papa Dick's Pizza and Chicken Restaurant is open after a winter break.

"I was looking for a new challenge, and found this job on Craigs List (website)," said new manager Andy Garrison. Garrison and his wife, Farrah, moved in March to Horseshoe Bend from their hometown, Aurora, Missouri.

"I worked my way up to store manager at Dominoes Pizza, starting when I was in college," Garrison said. "For the past nine years, I've helped run a barbecue restaurant my parents own, but I was ready for a change."

Garrison said West Plains, Mo. was the only town in the area he had ever visited, but he and his wife like the beauty of Horseshoe Bend and the slower pace. They haven't been able to spend much time exploring the area, however.

"We've been busy getting this restaurant set up, and getting to know the operation," Garrison said.

Papa Dick's menu, with its emphasis on pizza, chicken, sandwiches and salads remains in place, but the Garrison's have made some additions to the menu -- Farrah's special chicken salad recipe and a line of desserts, which include ice cream, milk shakes and cobbler.

"We make our own dough for the pizzas and calzones, and put an emphasis on using fresh ingredients and making everything from scratch," Garrison said.

While his pizza oven is hidden in the kitchen, Garrison should hold a performance in the dining room, as he makes his pizza crust the old fashioned way -- throwing a ball of dough back and forth, from one hand to the other a few times, then tossing the dough in the air, catching and twirling it before sending it back into the air several more times.

"We have a rolling machine but I only use it to roll out crusts for calzones," Garrison said. "When you make a pizza crust by tossing it, each crust has its own character."

At the front counter, waitress Devyn Bratten takes a call-in order.

"She lives here at Horseshoe and is a regular," Bratten said. "I worked here last year and, since this is a small town, you get to know people who come in regularly."

While the Garrisons know their main business this summer will be hundreds of visitors who will stay at the resort, they believe the restaurant should be attracting more residents from Horseshoe Bend and the surrounding area.

Papa Dick's recently ran coupons for pizza discounts in Areawide Media publications, and plans to send coupons directly to homes through the mail.

"We had some people come in today from Ash Flat," server Julia Clark said, as she made a milk shake. "They said they didn't know this place was here. Farrah has been distributing our menus around the area and new people are coming in every day."

Garrison believes he can increase business by increasing marketing.

"The restaurant has been closing in November and we see an opportunity to stay open year round -- if we can get our name out better and build the business of people who live in the area, ," Garrison said.

But Garrison's first priority is being prepared for the onslaught of about 400 resort guests expected May 11, as Crown Point Resort's summer season begins.

"Many of our resort people have been coming here for years," Bratten said. "Some first-timers will say there is not enough to do around here, but most like how they are staying right on the lake, and how quiet and relaxing it is."

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