Country Folks to reopen in February

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Glenda Lanasee, the new manager of the soon-to-reopen Country Folks Buffet, stirs a pot of chili.



Just like the song says, “You can’t keep a good man down,” the same can be said for a good restaurant, owners agreed, as they prepare to reopen Florala’s Country Folks Buffet.

After closing more than eight months ago, the Florala staple is set to welcome customers once again – this time under new ownership and management.

Owners Carla and Timmy Strickland and their partners Randy and Tanya Whitmire purchased the restaurant from Dwight and Barbara Day. The Days opened the restaurant in the mid-1990s, growing it from a small, intimate space on the corner of Fifth Avenue and U.S. Hwy. 85 to the current large open floor space that can feed hundreds at one time.

On Monday, Carla Strickland said the group wants to continue that tradition by keeping much of the same menu and of course, the “Country Folks” name.

“Even though we live in Laurel Hill, Florala is what we call home,” Strickland said. “The Days were here 18 years, and when you think of food in Florala, you think Country Folks. When the opportunity presented itself, we decided we would be proud to be a part of the community and carry on the tradition.”

The restaurant will offer the traditional two-meat lunch buffet, which includes a drink, salad and dessert, for $7.50, and the Friday and Saturday night, all-you-can-eat seafood buffet for $14.99 per person. (For $5 more, one can add AYCE crab legs.) On Tuesday night, it’s AYCE fish and shrimp for $9.99 per person.

However, as owners of an already successful tire business in Crestivew, Fla., professional obligations won’t allow the Stricklands to man the restaurant, and that’s where Glenda Lanasse comes in.

Lanasse is no stranger to the food business. A retired dietician from the Louisiana Schools Food Service and past owner of Linda’s Hobo Restaurant in Laurel Hill, Fla., Lanasse is adding a Cajun flare to the menu. Short order items include choice rib-eye steaks, hamburgers and more.

“I spent 23 years in Louisiana,” Lanasse said. “So, of course, that means gumbo, shrimp, oysters and roast beef po’boys; homemade French bread and jambalaya whenever you want it.”

Catering for parties is also available, she said.

On Jan. 31 – the restaurant will host its catering debut – a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. with Rep. Mike Jones and Sen. Jimmy Holley, who will discuss the upcoming legislative session. The public is invited to attend.

The restaurant will employ approximately 20 people. Response for the opening positions has been overwhelming, as has buzz about the upcoming opening, Lanasse said.

“We went through 75 to 100 applications for waitresses Sunday,” she said. “And if we had been open, we could have fed more than 50 people. It’s going to be great.”

The restaurant will open Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday.