Father-son duo planning $10 million resort in Eureka Springs

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 48,190 views 

Lyman's Prime Steakhouse is one of two farm-to-table restaurants that will be included in Pine Mountain, a $10 million resort destination in development in Eureka Springs.

The developers of a new hospitality destination in Eureka Springs say it will be a regional draw for mountain bikers, motorcyclists, foodies and sightseers.

Pine Mountain is a redevelopment of the Pine Mountain Village and Pine Mountain Jamboree at 2075 E. Van Buren Ave., and about 40 acres of adjoining forested hills.

According to a news release issued Wednesday (Jan. 15), the $10 million development will incorporate two farm-to-table restaurants, a fast-casual cafe, 15 cabins, boutique shopping, a 200-person event center, outdoor event space and more than three miles of mixed-use walking/hiking/biking trails.

The destination is expected to create more than 100 hospitality jobs. The resort will open in phases, with all properties expected to be open by fall 2020. Shea Design of Minnesota is the lead designer and C.R. Crawford of Fayetteville is the general contractor.

Chef and entrepreneur Marshall Johnson and his father, Paul Johnson, own the property and are the Pine Mountain developers. Marshall is the owner of Eureka Springs restaurant Rockin’ Pig Saloon. Paul and his wife, Susan, own Pig Trail Harley-Davidson dealerships in Rogers and Eureka Springs.

“This is a great time to develop an exciting, multi-faceted tourism destination like Pine Mountain in Eureka Springs,” Marshall Johnson said in a statement. “We’re the backyard playground for the booming Northwest Arkansas population. Mountain biking and motorcycling in the Ozarks are getting national and international notoriety, and Eureka Springs is this jewel of a destination that has drawn a crowd for more than a century.”

The cabins will have bike-in-bike-out access to hiking/biking trails on the property, with connectors to area trails, surface roads and downtown Eureka Springs.

The city and surrounding region is a popular destination for motorcycling as well. As Harley-Davidson dealers, the family has actively promoted that for years.

“The Pig Trail and other Ozark riding routes are already well known,” said Kyle Johnson, Marshall’s brother and general manager of the dealership. “With Pine Mountain Resort, we’re building hospitality venues we know will appeal to our Hog-riding community; they’ve already told us so.”

The restaurants on the property will feature 100% full-blood Japanese Black Wagyu and American Wagyu beef, as well as 100% Heritage Angus cuts grown by family farmers in the Midwest.

The Social House event center will accommodate weddings, corporate events and other social occasions up to 200 people. Johnson said he is sparing no expense equipping the kitchens in order to provide an inimitable catering service. For instance, he’ll be able to prepare and hold up to 200 filet mignon entrees at the perfect serving temperature or roast and serve a whole hog from the catering kitchen.

The 100-foot Fire Tower is at the heart of Pine Mountain. It is lighted at night to create a dramatic focal point and observation platform.

Outside, the grounds will feature a naturally landscaped event area capable of hosting a variety of musical and entertainment events, a striking observation tower overlooking the city’s downtown, Ozark hills and Crescent Hotel, and an expansive parking lot where Pine Mountain will continue its tradition of hosting Corvette, Mustang and VW club car shows.

Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, calls the Pine Mountain project a significant development in the state’s tourism infrastructure.

“Pine Mountain in Eureka Springs has the potential to drive tourism in the area to a new level,” Hurst said in a statement. “This project will utilize the incredible natural and cultural resources of the area and present them to today’s traveler in a way that’s very attractive. The redevelopment and enhancement of Pine Mountain will have a very positive impact on Arkansas’ tourism economy.”

Specific details about Pine Mountain properties released Wednesday include:

Lyman’s Prime Steakhouse

  • The name is an homage to Marshall Johnson’s grandfather, an early Walmart executive recruited to Bentonville from New York by Sam Walton in the 1970s. Alvin Lyman Johnson loved a great steak and was known to fly in his own beef in order to have one
  • The steakhouse features Ozark Mountain Wagyu, grown by Chef Marshall Johnson in his herd of 40+ 100% Japanese Black Wagyu beef cattle
  • All other beef will be supplied from 100% Heritage Angus cattle bred and raised by family farms in the Midwest
  • The restaurant features an in-house dry-age room, visible from the dining area, where beef will be aged; this will be the only dry-age facility in Northwest Arkansas
  • The restaurant will also feature Lyman’s Butcher Counter where guests may purchase these prime dry-aged cuts for preparation at home

Rockin’ Pig Woodfire Kitchen

  • The new Rockin’ Pig Woodfire Kitchen is a chef-driven concept heavy on protein, quality and approachability; the Woodfire Kitchen will also feature Chef Johnson’s Ozark Mountain Wagyu beef
  • The Rockin’ Pig builds on its successful track record in Eureka Springs and evolves to become a leading polished casual restaurant serving Northwest Arkansas
  • With family-friendly vibes and daily farm-to-table chalkboard specials, Rockin’ Pig features premium ingredients, an ever-expanding bar list, and a whole new definition of “comfort food” for visitors following a great day in the Ozarks

Lil’ Pig Cafe

  • Lil’ Pig Cafe is Pine Mountain’s place to be all day long
  • It’s house-made pastries and a fresh cup of coffee; it’s a sandwich to fuel for a hike or bike ride; it’s fresh-churned ice cream to refuel on the return
  • For diners on the go, there’s pizza and more from the pickup window

The Hub

  • The Hub at Pine Mountain is the starting point for adventure on property, where staff will check visitors in and get them up-to-speed on what to do
  • Guests can rent a bike, get a tune up, or replace some gear in the bike shop and outfitter
  • Outside, guests can jump on the trails or enjoy a beer while watching others test their skills on the pump track and skills course

The Social House

  • The Social House event center is the premier spot to party at Pine Mountain
  • Elegant and welcoming for every occasion from weddings to corporate events of up to 200 guests
  • The flexible space is highlighted by a statement-making entryway and is flooded with Ozarks sunshine, with menus suited to all tastes
  • State-of-the-art catering kitchen accommodates dining options from filet mignon plated dinners to whole-hog roasts

The Cabins

  • Nestled into the wooded hillside, the rustic-chic cabins are the perfect place for appreciating the simple life at Pine Mountain
  • Guests can relax on their outdoor decks with a pizza from the Lil’ Pig or open the windows to let in the fresh mountain air, resting up to hit the trails the next day

The Tower

  • At the heart of Pine Mountain sits the Fire Tower, a Eureka Springs landmark from ages past that still stands proud
  • The tower is lit brilliantly come nightfall, making it a beacon for the resort, and during the daytime, it beckons ambitious guests to scale its steps to be rewarded by vistas of the surrounding mountains, Downtown Eureka and the Crescent Hotel across the valley