The Hays House Restaurant in Council Grove is tentatively scheduled to re-open on or before May 1 after having been closed since December.
Terms of a long-term lease agreement for operation of the iconic dining establishment were finalized last Friday.
Principal parties are Frank and Shey-Anne Greco and Randall Dickson, who signed the agreement with Flint Hills Investors, LLC. The investors group has been operating the business through managers for the past eight years, according to FHI spokesman Tim Tyner.
“We (FHI) are giving them every opportunity to succeed,” Tyner said, adding the investors group is retaining ownership of the building housing the Hays House.
In a telephone conversation Thursday with Dickson, he said he is leaving his position as executive chef at the Six-Mile Chophouse in Lawrence in making the move to the Hays House. He and the Greco couple, who reside east of Alma, have been friends for several years.
Dickson said Greco’s family has been in the restaurant business for three generations. However, Greco is currently the primary meat buyer for US Foods in the Midwest. He will continue in that role, while his wife works with Dickson at the Hays House.
The Grecos will be in charge of front-end operations and Dickson will serve as the executive chef and be in charge of kitchen operations.
Dickson said he plans to move to Council Grove, while the Greco couple will relocate to west of Alma.
An ad in last week’s issue of The Council Grove Republican notes there are upcoming employment opportunities at the Hays House.
Dickson will be at the Hays House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today conduct interviews.
He said the re-opening date depends largely on when food service and liquor licenses are received from the state.
A “soft” re-opening is planned, followed by a grand reopening at a later date.
Currently, the plan is to have the Hays House open from mid-day through late evening Tuesday through Friday, with the establishment opening earlier for breakfast on Saturday and Sundays and remain open until late evening.
Prime rib will be served as an evening meal on Fridays and Saturdays, Dickson said.
He said the daily menu will feature what he called “casual, comfort food.”
Barbecued pulled pork, brisket and ribs will be featured, with Dickson noting he and Greco have competed in barbecue competitions.
Steaks, salmon and shrimp also are to be included on the menu, Dickson said.
There will be evening meal specials, he said.
Dickson said he and the Greco couple are excited about the opportunity to operate the Hays House, noting the historical nature of the dining establishment and the community was one facet in their business decision.