Ahead of you is tallgrass prairie vast as the sea, bluestem breaking like whitecaps in the wind. And beyond the plains lie stark, treacherous mountains, and the remote passes you pray you reach before the snows. Behind you are cities and farms and forests and everything and everyone you have ever known. Ahead of you is a wild expanse of uncertainty and danger—danger you’re willing to brave, based on the promise of a brand-new life in a place so far away it might as well be on the edge of the world. Behind you, your past. Ahead of you, disappearing over the horizon... a trail.
The story of America is the story of people who dreamed dreams and took off down trails to make them real. It’s the story of how we yearn for the freedom of wide, open spaces and also for the secure refuge of a warm hearth, four stout walls, and a roof. It’s the story of pioneering men and women who endured thousands of bone-jarring miles in rough-hewn wagons, or on the back of weary horses, or on their own two feet… journeying to a place they’d never seen, a place they would someday call home.
It’s our story, too. This is Dusty Trail. This is our story.
The place where so many of those old trails began—Missouri—is also where a Nebraska girl named Karen and an Arkansas boy named Jim Brown met, fell in love, and hitched their wagons together in holy matrimony. Karen and Jim operated travel centers and other businesses from the Midwest to the Deep South. Their journey took a tragic turn in 2000 when Jim very suddenly passed away, leaving Karen to pick up the pieces and carry on alone. As she did, she began to put her own unique stamp on her properties, always striving to try something different, something new. To do more than feed people... to love on them. To celebrate them.
Dusty Trail celebrates the people who walked the endless trails to turn an untamed frontier into a nation: the explorers who mapped it, the settlers who populated it, the farmers and ranchers who toiled from sunup to sundown to keep them all fed. Trails brought them to that place, and a trail—a nicely paved trail, maybe, but a trail—brought you here today. Look around you at the artifacts Karen has gathered and put on display. There’s history on those walls, and tales that deserve to be told and retold… tales of gunslingers and sodbusters and cowpunchers and all the one-of-a-kind folks whose lives made your life possible. Dusty Trail is about more than just food, it's about our shared experience, and the winding trails that brought us here.
But let’s be honest... it’s at least a little bit about the food. And the food at Dusty Trail would give a 19th-century homesteader visions of a king’s feast. Entrées that range from mom-approved comfort food to exotic wild game. An astonishing menu of craft beers, fine whiskeys, and craft cocktails. Homemade breads and desserts. Mercy! Sit down for a meal in this place, and it’ll be meal you’ll remember for a long while to come. This isn’t just sustenance for the trail ahead—it’s a little taste of frontier hospitality, a reminder that no matter how far you travel, there’s someone back home who misses you. Who loves you.
And in the end, that’s what we’re all about. Trails wind and meander. Trails take you on journeys, and those journeys can be magical. Life-changing. But as with all things, there comes a day when you step off the trail, even if just for a little while. Trails end. And where they end? That’s home.
Welcome to Dusty Trail. Welcome home.