Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Scallions' Anniversary

Happy Birthday Scallions - 23 Years in The Heights!

(From left) Rachael Crosby, Otis Smith, Kelly Shelton,
LeeAnn Arculis, Stephanie Roberts, and Lindsey Smith

Walking down the steps into Scallions' leafy courtyard in the spring is like visiting a good friend. It's a warm, welcoming atmosphere. You know your favorite dishes will always be on the menu. You leave, reluctantly, but with a smile.

Rachael Crosby's and Nikki Avants' Scallions celebrates 23 years in the Heights this month.

Scallions is more than just a great spot for lunch. It is, well, it is where a man came in recently and told Ms. Crosby that his daughter had just had oral surgery and required Scallions' cheese soup.

"We served cheese soup to these kids when they were little," Rachael said. "After surgery, she had to have our cheese soup. He got a quart of cheese soup. That's all she wanted.

"And that happens a lot."

It's a restaurant where little girls eat chicken salad with their moms, and then order that same chicken salad for their wedding showers, baby showers, and wedding anniversaries.

And, it's all about family. Twenty-three years ago, the whole family pitched in to help when their aunt, Bobbye Cazort opened Scallions. Nikki worked there when she was in college and then bought the restaurant when Mrs. Cazort retired. Later, Rachael partnered with Nikki, and now two of Rachael's children, Bailey Anne, 16, and Lindsey, 25, are working at Scallions.

"I have two employees who have been here 23 years, Otis Smith and Kelly Shelton, the whole time," Rachael said. LeeAnn Arculis has been here a total of 14 years and Stephanie Roberts, six years. It's just kind of a family restaurant, family atmosphere. It's a good gig.

"One of the reasons we've had this loyal following is because of the people who work here. Like some people know LeeAnn and when they come in, they only want to sit at her tables."

On the menu, you'll find quiches, salads, soups and sandwiches with shout-outs to the neighborhood, like "The Country Club" or the "Heights Veggie."

The recipes were all created by Nikki and Rachael or their mom or aunt or grandmother. There are lots of homemade desserts, fresh fruit cups, and, of course, don't forget the poppy seed muffins.

"We have offerings hearty enough for men, like our big grilled chicken club," Rachael said. "We cater. We cater to major downtown businesses - corporate catering, business lunches, and a lot of drug reps take our food to doctors' offices."

Scallions also caters events, or you can buy take-out in bulk. The restaurant and the courtyard are also available for parties.

"We get to utilize it a lot for showers, rehersal dinners, brides' maids events."

Rachael and Nikki tried to open Scallions for dinner, but it didn't work out.

"God has really blessed us. Even with the tough economic year - dinner didn't make it, but we did," Rachael said.

Actually, she prefers being open only for lunch.

"Everybody has kids and husbands and obligations.The extra work stresses people. My philosophy is enough is enough. Time is worth more than money. You want to work to enjoy life, not be your life."

And Nikki has decided to do something she has been longing for to help fulfill her life - study nursing.

"She's always had this passion for nursing. She's had that passion reignited and is going to school. She's my little sister and we love each other and support each other. And I'm so happy for her that she is doing this," Rachael said.

Scallions is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday (with Saturdays sometimes lingering through 3 when the mood is right). For information about catering services, box lunches, special events or bulk takeouts, call Rachael at 666-6468.

(This story was written by Bobbi Nesbitt and appeared in the May 2010 edition of Shoppe Talk.)

Rachael Crosby Profile

Rachael Crosby

(For this profile, Rachael was interviewed by telephone as she did her morning prep work at Scallions.)

Tell us about your family. I'm single, and I have five children; I gave birth to two and got three by the grace of God. My Grannie Mae is 89. She worked here. She worked her whole life, and would work here too when needed. She has Alzheimer's. We deal with that. I love her, and she is so funny. I have one granddaughter named Bryah, and I have a grandchild on the way. We are excited about that. My kids are ages 16 to 28.

Where were you born? Batesville.

What's your favorite city? Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It's not a city, just a wonderful community.

Do you have a favorite movie? The original 1936 version of The Women.

Yeah, that's great. It's one of my favorites too. Do you have favorite actors? I just love Meg Ryan.

What do you do in your spare time? I read. I have a great church, the Church at Rock Creek. We have a terrific youth group. I cook for 150 to 200 kids on Sunday night, good home-cooked meals for kids in 6th to 12 grades. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be with my daughter and her friends and cook and do what I love.
I love to cruise. I have been on seven cruises and a mission trip to Honduras in '97. Mexican people and Central American people ... have more joy. There is more happiness in people who live simply. They have less, but they have more.

What do you like to read? Jodi Picoult, Francine Rivers and Barbara Delinsky are my favorite authors.

Is there anything you'd like to learn how to do? Yes, I would love to learn how to kayak.

If you could have a dream dinner party with any three people, who would you choose? My Daddy, Mike Crosby. Daddy is the best cook there ever was, and I miss his cooking, so he'd have to cook it. He passed away in 2000. I come from a long line of cooks, but my dad was just the best. Growing up, meals were all about the family and sharing it together.

What would you do if you won a large lottery? Support missions and travel more. I have friends starting a mission in Africa. And I'd make my family comfortable.

Do you have any pets? I have this amazing Yorkie named Ike I got from the Humane Society. He's a 7-year-old Yorkie. He's looking at me right now as I work. He has a car seat. He's real mischievous if I leave him home. He would rather come to work and sit at the door and watch us come and go.

Do you support any charities? Scallions is really proud to have supported Silent Sunday for the Arkansas School for the Deaf. We started in 1989. There were 12 restaurants participating then, and last year, there were over 40.