By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
As of March 1 Ron and Dena Taylor are the new owners of The Country House in Champion. The restaurant, which will include a dance floor, is located in the building formerly known as Cindy Lou’s BBQ and Champ Inn.
The Taylors plan to open the restaurant for lunches several weeks prior to the grand opening over the Memorial Day weekend.
Last summer Ron and his sister, from Washington State, were walking around town, and he mentioned that he’d like to open a restaurant that featured dancing and local talent, similar to a restaurant the sister frequented in Washington.
His dream came true when the building was sold by Ryan Johnson.
It was also Dena’s dream to own a restaurant, as she loves to cook and feed people.
“God led us to this,” she said, to provide a family atmosphere. “Champion needs a restaurant, and we want to draw from a large area,” she added.
“I want everyone ages eight to 80 to be able to dance,” Ron enthused, with local talent and live music involved.
He plans to recruit bands from as far away as Sterling, Colo. and Ogallala, but is most interested in drawing local talent.
“If we provide a band they can sing,” he added.
Ron participated in a talent contest during the Chase County Fair last summer, and was amazed at the talent in the area.
“We want to make sure people understand that we’re family friendly,” Dena added. As far as music goes, it can be rock or country or anything else, as long as it has a dance beat. No lyrics about sex, drugs or alcohol, though.
Dena has some experience with food service through catering and serving meals at the couple’s church, Crossroads Wesleyan.
She plans to offer a daily lunch special, with homestyle food, not fast food. Dinners will feature buffet options and a salad bar.
Dena will also provide meals for special events at The Country House.
Hours will be Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Besides farming on the Colorado border southwest of Champion, the Taylors have been busy installing new ceilings and floors, painting and opening up areas for more dining.
The former cafe will be the lunchroom, while the former bar and part of the entertainment hall will be dinner/dining. The west end of the entertainment hall will feature a small stage, and the rest will be a dance floor.
An area to the south of the restaurant will feature local crafts, flowers and gifts. The area will be run by the Taylors’ daughter-in-law, Stephanie Taylor. She is married to son Jacob, who farms with the couple.
Other children include Jason and Kim of Thedford, and Josh and Carla of Grant. Carla will be involved in the restaurant business, too.
The Taylors have eight grandchildren, also. They moved to the Champion area five years ago, after ranching in Wyoming.
The couple will turn the counter in the former bar into a soda fountain. No alcohol will be served, as the couple is aware that people need to drive to The Country House, and don’t want anyone drinking and driving.
Kitchen and wait staff will be hired soon, Dena noted.