Archive for Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Restaurant opens in McLouth

July 17, 2002

It's unusual for people in Kansas to see elephants, giraffes and exotic birds.

But at 307 S. Union in downtown McLouth, these animals are quite common.

Such is the theme at Safari's, a new restaurant owned by Nick and Nancy Merriman, and Nancy's son Nick Beerbower.

"We wanted something a little more colorful than McLouth had in it right now," Nancy said.

Safari's, which moved into the Snack Shack's former building, included a major renovation that Denny spearheaded. The walls were painted white with African safari wallpaper displayed along the base of the restaurant's walls. More exotic animals can be seen in framed dr above the wallpaper, and tablecloths with safari and tiger-skin patterns adorn the tables.

The restaurant's menu is far more domestic than its motif.

Sandwiches are Safari's primary menu items. Customers can order various meats, from corned beef and pastrami, to roast beef and turkey. Chicken salad and ham salad also are available. The Reuben is the restaurant's specialty, and Nancy plans to feature chili and other soups in bread bowls after Labor Day. More hot sandwiches are planned, too.

Safari's, however, wasn't the family's first choice for a name. They were considering Coney Island, reflecting the various ice creams the restaurant also features.

But while catching a documentary on television about the Serengeti and African safaris one evening, Nancy hit a different idea.

Because of a diabetic condition, Nancy became blind after Nick's birth in 1987. But after hearing the documentary, it reminded her of her love for animals. The idea of vibrant colors and textures helped make Safari's a reality.

Whatever the restaurant's name, the business has been good, Nancy said.

"There's been an overwhelming response from the community," Nancy said. "We have quite a repertoire of people in here every day."

Nancy and Nick have a background in the food business, while Denny is new to the scene. Safari's is the family's first venture in ownership.

"We jumped in with both feet, and, out of the blue, here we are," Nancy said.

Safari's has been a good fit for Nancy, who has always enjoyed preparing food.

"It's the easiest thing in the world to feed people," Nancy said. "It's like a very large grocery shopping trip."

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