Last weekend, I had the chance to visit a special open house for the J. Huston Tavern in Historic Arrow Rock. Located in the heart of Arrow Rock — the town itself is designated as a National Historic Landmark — the tavern has been serving travelers since the days of the Santa Fe Trail in 1834.
Now under the management of Pfoodman, a food service management firm, J. Huston Tavern will operate as a restaurant through a partnership between that company and students involved with the hospitality and tourism management degree program at Missouri Valley College in Marshall.
The tavern has been spruced up a bit in recent months and the interior was, to me, much more beautiful than the sturdy, red brick exterior led me to believe it would be. The dining areas offer seating for more than 100 guests, while the “bar” area offers table seating for a handful of folks, as well as enough space for a pretty large gathering.
If the spread at the open house is any indication as to the type and quality of the food they’ll be serving, J. Huston Tavern is going to be very busy for many years to come.
History buffs may be interested in seeing the upper floors of the tavern, where guest rooms retain their 18oo’s furnishings; there’s also a ballroom, once the site of many important social events in the Arrow Rock community.
The J. Huston Tavern officially opens to the public tomorrow (Saturday, March 26). They’ll be open for lunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and again for dinner, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. On Sunday, they’ll be open only for lunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Their regular schedule varies; you can learn more about the tavern by visiting their Facebook page or checking their listing on VisitMO.com.
Also this weekend in Arrow Rock, the Lyceum Theatre will host a special Tribute to Red Skelton, with performances Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and again Sunday at 2 p.m.
While you’re in Arrow Rock, don’t forget to check out the shops on Main Street; if you’re planning an overnight stay, there are several bed and breakfast inns from which to choose.
Also visit the Arrow Rock State Historic Site, which offers a wealth of information on Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham (who was born 200 years ago and will be the focus of special events around Missouri this year), as well as on the founding and historical importance of many cities in the Boone’s Lick region of Missouri.
Arrow Rock is located along a scenic stretch of Route 41 in what we at the Missouri Division of Tourism classify as Northwest Missouri. It’s about 43 miles northwest of Columbia; take I-70 west to Route 41 and follow the signs to Arrow Rock, which is about 15 miles off the interstate.
Arrow Rock is a quaint community (I think the population sign said 79) with several interesting and historically significant sites to visit, plus the city’s central location makes it a great spot for an impromptu day trip.