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Barnstorming – This Fayetteville Favorite is and Institution | By Frances Hasty

03/31/2011 01:29PM ● Published by Anonymous

Despite its status as one of Fayetteville’s oldest restaurants still in existence, The Barn is something of a well-kept secret.  “It’s the hidden restaurant in town, especially for newcomers,” said owner Bernard Bryant. “Despite advertising, people can’t imagine that a nice restaurant could be located so near a topless bar. It’s a stigma that we fight.”

It might be different, he said, if The Barn stood in a more visual location along the city’s “restaurant rows” of McPherson Church or Skibo roads. Instead, it occupies its original site on Bragg Boulevard, and the neighborhood has changed a great deal since the restaurant opened in 1961.  “People ask, ‘Why are you in this location?’ You just can’t pick up a historical landmark and move it,” Bryant says in response.  But long-time residents have remained loyal, he said. “It has survived a number of years, thanks to so many loyal customers who support The Barn.”

In earlier years, the restaurant had little competition and was a favorite place for dinner. One can’t help but wonder how many people have come to The Barn through the years to mark special occasions – marriage proposals, anniversaries, job promotions. One Fayetteville man remembers bringing his date to The Barn on prom night, and seated nearby was comedian Red Skelton. In town for a performance, Skelton graciously chatted with the students and signed autographs for them.  The Fasul family built the restaurant and operated it until around 1990, Bryant said. It closed for a short period in the 1990s for a major renovation. It changed hands a couple of times and was purchased by Bryant in 2002.

It has long been a special place for Bryant, who went to The Barn for dinner on his prom night. And he worked there several years as a server for previous owners, first as a student at Methodist College.  As the proprietor, Bryant has updated the décor while attempting to preserve the historical ambience. At some point in the restaurant’s history, solariums were added, and ceiling fans and more effective cooling units have been added to these areas for comfort. The restaurant setting is anything but barn-like. Diners are welcomed in the cheery red hallway that leads to a bar and the dining rooms. Tables are spread with crisply starched white linen cloths accented with black napkins and white china plates rimmed in black.

On the menu, Bryant has kept some of the entrées that have appealed to diners through the years. Among them is the Filet Oscar, pictured on page 25.  “People still come and recognize that as one of our specialties,” he said. “People can come back after five years and still find their favorites.” One of those favorites is the stuffed potato made just like those served at the restaurant in the ‘80s. Another is fried green tomatoes.  Along with the tried and true, there are nightly specials with an updated flair, such as the spicy ginger salmon. “In this day and age, I know we have to change and grow,” he said.

He described the menu as “continental,” including a variety of steaks, prime rib and seafood. Steaks are hand cut, he said, and sauces, even the cocktail sauce, are all made from scratch.   “I think people who know and respect good food appreciate that,” he said.  The menu also includes pasta dishes and vegetable entrées. Bryant added that the restaurant will take extra steps to accommodate people with specific food allergies if they call ahead.  A favorite on the dessert list is bananas Foster. People enjoy the table-side presentation, Bryant said. “Fifty percent of it is presentation.”

Linda Williams is chef at The Barn and has worked there 22 years, one reason the menu has maintained its continuity.  Williams says she has worked with five different managements, from the original owner to Bryant. “I come with the place,” she said with a laugh. “People ask me, ‘How can you stay at one place?’ I tell them The Barn is a landmark.”  Williams began working there as a teenager. She started with salads and bread and worked her way up. Now, she says, “I could go right in there with eyes closed.” Williams says every order is cooked on the spot, not ahead of time, and she’s been known to prepare as many as 10 dishes at one time.   “Linda and I consult routinely, putting our creative heads together,” Bryant said. “Before a dish is introduced on the menu, we prepare it and have the staff taste it.”

Bryant, who grew up in the Beaver Dam community, said he comes from a family of good cooks, and some of the family favorites – among them a 10-layer chocolate cake, banana-split cake, and pork tenderloin – have made their way to The Barn menu.  By day, Bryant is administrator of a nursing home in  Carthage, arriving at the restaurant around 6:30 each evening. He relies on the staff to keep the restaurant up and running. “I have a wonderful partner and manager in Chris Canady, who absolutely handles so much. He and Linda are like my family, and I trust them. They have been with me from day  one,” Bryant said. “I am very fortunate and blessed to have them.”  Bryant makes it a point to greet diners and ensure that the food and service are good. “We want people to enjoy the dining experience,” he said. “We want people to feel at home, to have a relaxing dinner with good service at a fair price.”  The Barn is located at 1021 Bragg Blvd., not far from downtown Fayetteville and Haymount. It is open Monday through Saturday beginning at 5 

Despite its status as one of Fayetteville’s oldest restaurants still in existence, The Barn is something of a well-kept secret.   It’s the hidden restaurant in town, especially for newcomers,” said owner Bernard Bryant. “Despite advertising, people can’t imagine that a nice restaurant could be located so near a topless bar. It’s a stigma that we fight.”

It might be different, he said, if The Barn stood in a more visual location along the city’s “restaurant rows” of McPherson Church or Skibo roads. Instead, it occupies its original site on Bragg Boulevard, and the neighborhood has changed a great deal since the restaurant opened in 1961.   People ask, ‘Why are you in this location?’ You just can’t pick up a historical landmark and move it,” Bryant says in response.  But long-time residents have remained loyal, he said. “It has survived a number of years, thanks to so many loyal customers who support The Barn.”

 

In earlier years, the restaurant had little competition and was a favorite place for dinner. One can’t help but wonder how many people have come to The Barn through the years to mark special occasions – marriage proposals, anniversaries, job promotions. One Fayetteville man remembers bringing his date to The Barn on prom night, and seated nearby was comedian Red Skelton. In town for a performance, Skelton graciously chatted with the students and signed autographs for them.   The Fasul family built the restaurant and operated it until around 1990, Bryant said. It closed for a short period in the 1990s for a major renovation. It changed hands a couple of times and was purchased by Bryant in 2002.

 

It has long been a special place for Bryant, who went to The Barn for dinner on his prom night. And he worked there several years as a server for previous owners, first as a student at Methodist College.   As the proprietor, Bryant has updated the décor while attempting to preserve the historical ambience. At some point in the restaurant’s history, solariums were added, and ceiling fans and more effective cooling units have been added to these areas for comfort. The restaurant setting is anything but barn-like. Diners are welcomed in the cheery red hallway that leads to a bar and the dining rooms. Tables are spread with crisply starched white linen cloths accented with black napkins and white china plates rimmed in black.

 

On the menu, Bryant has kept some of the entrées that have appealed to diners through the years. Among them is the Filet Oscar, pictured on page 25.   People still come and recognize that as one of our specialties,” he said. “People can come back after five years and still find their favorites.” One of those favorites is the stuffed potato made just like those served at the restaurant in the ‘80s. Another is fried green tomatoes.  Along with the tried and true, there are nightly specials with an updated flair, such as the spicy ginger salmon. “In this day and age, I know we have to change and grow,” he said.

 

He described the menu as “continental,” including a variety of steaks, prime rib and seafood. Steaks are hand cut, he said, and sauces, even the cocktail sauce, are all made from scratch.    I think people who know and respect good food appreciate that,” he said.  The menu also includes pasta dishes and vegetable entrées. Bryant added that the restaurant will take extra steps to accommodate people with specific food allergies if they call ahead.   A favorite on the dessert list is bananas Foster. People enjoy the table-side presentation, Bryant said. “Fifty percent of it is presentation.”

 

Linda Williams is chef at The Barn and has worked there 22 years, one reason the menu has maintained its continuity.   Williams says she has worked with five different managements, from the original owner to Bryant. “I come with the place,” she said with a laugh. “People ask me, ‘How can you stay at one place?’ I tell them The Barn is a landmark.”   Williams began working there as a teenager. She started with salads and bread and worked her way up. Now, she says, “I could go right in there with eyes closed.” Williams says every order is cooked on the spot, not ahead of time, and she’s been known to prepare as many as 10 dishes at one time.    Linda and I consult routinely, putting our creative heads together,” Bryant said. “Before a dish is introduced on the menu, we prepare it and have the staff taste it.”

Bryant, who grew up in the Beaver Dam community, said he comes from a family of good cooks, and some of the family favorites – among them a 10-layer chocolate cake, banana-split cake, and pork tenderloin – have made their way to The Barn menu.   By day, Bryant is administrator of a nursing home in  Carthage, arriving at the restaurant around 6:30 each evening. He relies on the staff to keep the restaurant up and running. “I have a wonderful partner and manager in Chris Canady, who absolutely handles so much. He and Linda are like my family, and I trust them. They have been with me from day  one,” Bryant said. “I am very fortunate and blessed to have them.”  Bryant makes it a point to greet diners and ensure that the food and service are good. “We want people to enjoy the dining experience,” he said. “We want people to feel at home, to have a relaxing dinner with good service at a fair price.”  The Barn is located at 1021 Bragg Blvd., not far from downtown Fayetteville and Haymount. It is open Monday through Saturday beginning at 5
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