ARROW ROCK — Less than a month after a fire destroyed the kitchen at Arrow Rock State Historic Site’s J. Huston Tavern, Missouri State Parks, in conjunction with the Friends of Arrow Rock, will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at the historic tavern to officially open a summer kitchen at 2 p.m. Friday, June 14.
“It was all-hands-on-deck to reopen the tavern as soon as possible,” said Ben Ellis, Missouri State Parks Director. “The Friends of Arrow Rock are doing such a fantastic job operating the tavern, we wanted to provide an alternative so they could continue to operate as we addressed the smoke damage in the historic dining area of the building.”
The Friends of Arrow Rock, who operate the tavern, will be using a mobile kitchen until a new kitchen is constructed. Seating for the tavern will be under a 30-by-60-foot carpeted tent, which has been erected on a wooden platform that will serve 80 to 100 guests.
Once the tavern dining rooms have been cleaned of smoke residue and restored, dining will move back into the historic structure later this summer. The mobile kitchen will be used until the new kitchen is open, which is targeted for fall 2020.
“Friends of Arrow Rock is so proud of our partnership with Missouri State Parks and how everyone has pulled together to get the tavern reopened less than a month after the fire,” said Sandy Selby, executive director of Friends of Arrow Rock. “Having the mobile kitchen and the big tent will allow us to create a fun dining experience in the ‘Summer Kitchen.’”
Hours will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and it will be open during any Lyceum performance.
The J. Huston Tavern was established in 1834 to provide food and lodging for travelers along the Santa Fe Trail and has continued to operate ever since. It is the first building in Missouri purchased with public funds for the purpose of historic preservation and remains a centerpiece of the Arrow Rock State Historic Site.
“Although Friends of Arrow Rock celebrated its 60th anniversary event in May, we were actually formed on June 14... at the tavern. What a perfect day to celebrate a new beginning!” said Selby.
Arrow Rock State Historic Site is at 39521 Visitor Center Drive in Arrow Rock, west of Columbia. For more information, contact Arrow Rock State Historic Site at 660-837-3330.