New eatery coming to Cassville in June
Farm to table restaurant to use local produce
When Barry County families want to go out to enjoy a nice dinner, their options locally are limited, often prompting a drive of about an hour in any direction to enjoy one in Rogers, Ark., Joplin, Branson, or Springfield.
But, come this summer, locals will have another option, thanks to a couple who will be bringing a restaurant to them.
The Farmer’s Daughter, An Ozark Eatery, a farm-to-table style restaurant planning to open this June, will be utilizing fresh foods from local producers to bring the meals made from scratch, homemade breads, wood-fired meats, steaks, salads, sandwiches and soups to locals.
The farmhouse-themed restaurant, owned by Abby Carr and Chef Matt Lowman, is inspired by the Ozark locale and aims to help locals enjoy a delicious, hearty dinner right here at home.
“We used to have so many great restaurants,” said Abby Carr, a Cassville native.
“We want to keep people in Cassville verses them going to Monett, Rogers and Joplin,” said Lowman, who has been a chef in Northwest Arkansas for 15 years. “Working in Rogers, it blew my mind how I would see people all the time from this area coming to eat, and I was like, ‘Why are you driving so far?’”
The restaurant, which is currently undergoing renovations, is located at the site of the previous Ozark Healthy Herb store, behind America’s Inn hotel off Highway 37.
“We’ve had a very positive response from everyone around town,” Lowman said. “We’re trying to serve just good, honest food [like we grew up eating]. We’re making as much as we can from scratch, like fresh, homemade bread every day, and we are buying a wood-fire grill. Most restaurants cook on a grill, char broiler or gas, and we’re wanting to utilize just wood. So, we will be serving wood-cooked meat, fresh salad and the kind of food we were all raised on, but done well.”
“Our vision in a restaurant was a real open, homey feeling,” Carr said. “We wanted it to look like a barn. There will also be an open loft area we’re going to call ‘the Hay Loft,’ and are going with that vibe of a farmhouse/barn sort of thing. I am ‘the farmer’s daughter.’ I grew up on a farm.”
To complete their vision, they plan to rely on and support the resources that already exist around them — local farmers and producers.
“One thing we love about this area and why we chose to return to Cassville are the farmers markets, the gardeners and resources in terms of goods,” Lowman said. “So we wanted to utilize the community and goods around us.”
The two have been making contact with local producers, like Edgewood Creamery, and encourage interested producers to contact them.
“It’s a farm-to-table restaurant,” Lowman said. “Since we’ll be using farmers, as the seasons change, the menu will change somewhat to utilize what’s fresh and in season.
“When you have these farmers who love what they’re doing and growing, you build a relationship with them, and they will think, ‘I’m going to take the freshest stuff I’ve got and take it to the restaurant.’ In Arkansas, I would have farmers who brought in tomatoes still warm from the sun and oh my goodness, it’s the best thing.”
Carr and Lowman, who share a passion for culinary arts, met in Northwest Arkansas, where Lowman has worked for high-end restaurants like The Hive in Bentonville, Ark., housed in the award-winning 21C Museum Hotel, and P.F. Chang’s in Rogers, Ark.
“I started as a line cook in Sonic in high school, and went on to culinary school in Little Rock, Ark., then into high-end dining in Little Rock in hotels,” Lowman said.
“Now, we’re ready for him to spoil Cassville,” Carr said.
Carr was teaching music and special education, but something was missing.
“It wasn’t exactly what I wanted,” she said. “I always dreamed of opening a restaurant, but never thought I had the skills. Culinary school was always in the back of my mind. So when I met Matt, I thought, ‘I don’t need it because I’ve got it right here. It [the process] was just a natural profession.”
“We got this opportunity with the restaurant, and thought it was a good location, good building, and what southwest Missouri needs,” Lowman said. “It’s where all the food is raised. I’ve helped open two restaurants, and this is the first one that’s actually ours.”
Plans are for the restaurant be open for lunch and dinner each day except Tuesdays, and Sunday evenings, and prices are expected to be similar to the Angus Branch Steakhouse in Monett or the BBQ Station in Cassville for lunch, and for dinner, comparable to Steak Inn in Shell Knob.
“We’re trying to make the menu accessible to everyone,” Carr said.
For Sundays, a finger-lickin’ family-style fried chicken dinner from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. is planned.
“Basically, you’ll have chicken and choose your sides – like you’re eating at grandma’s house,” Lowman said.
Contractor Brandon Pace of Mastercraft Construction is helping them renovate the building into the farmhouse look they are going after.
“He has just been phenomenal with running with our ideas,” Carr said.
The two are excited to see their dream realized and have high hopes for the good things they are expecting the restaurant to bring to the community, including a return to traditional meals and fundamental food-preparation that previous generations grew up on.
“It would be amazing if, 10 years from now, someone comes to Cassville who hasn’t been here in awhile and says, ‘Wow, look at all this happening now, or someone who’s been here for 60 years says the town hasn’t been like this since the 1960s,” Lowman said.
“That’s [always] been my goal -- to see how we can use this restaurant to help grow the community,” Carr said.
For more information, Carr and Lowman can be reached at 417-342-1774, on their Facebook page, or by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.