Update: Story updated as restaurant will now open on Tuesday, February 6. This is their new goal date.
After sitting vacant for about six months, the former Pizza Hut building in Vandalia will officially be open once again on Tuesday, February 6, this is the planned date, to serve food to area residents.
Restaurant veterans Randy and Tina Ferris are excited to open “Great Plains Kitchen” at the location on Highway 54.
The couple, who met in the industry, have been in the restaurant business their entire lives; Randy Ferris noted his time being around 36 years.
They also currently own the “Brick City Buffet and Grill” in Mexico and “Saints Avenue Cafe” locations in Bowling Green, Canton, and Boone, Iowa.
Since the Ferris’ drive through Vandalia going in between their current establishments, they have become familiar with Vandalia.
In fact, they’ve eaten at the Pizza Hut location several times in the past.
Randy Ferris said he asked a lot of questions in town and learned about the YMCA Project, the Vandalia Area Aquatics Center, and more.
He said the couple is excited to become active members in supporting the Vandalia community, especially in offering fundraising opportunities through the location on Saturdays.
“We love families, the community, and kids and you have it all right here,” the couple noted.
The “Great Plains Kitchen,” like their other restaurants, will feature great menu items at affordable prices along with a high-quality buffet featuring food like fried chicken or possible themed items. An example would be Fridays featuring seafood.
There will also be fresh-baked rolls right out of the oven, hand-dipped ice creams, cakes, pies, and more.
The location will start serving breakfast at 7 a.m.. every day of the week, Monday-Sunday. They will also have a weekend breakfast buffet from 7-11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
A lunch buffet will be open daily from 11 a.m-4 p.m. with a dinner buffet running from 4-8 p.m. or close.
General Manager Jim McKeever is moving to Vandalia from Myrtle Beach, S.C. to manage the day-to-day operations While much of the decorations will look the same during the opening, the couple has bought several new kitchen equipment in the kitchen. They have plans to eventually use the old Pizza Hut pizza oven to sell pizza on a carry-out basis a couple of weeks into full operation.
A special hiring event will be held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday, January 22 as interviews will be done during that time.
Plans also include a new sign going up at the location in the next week.