Family stories run deep in Hayti, Missouri.

Family lore claims Randall Crawford’s grandfather got into the restaurant business purely by accident—or some would say by the luck of the draw. That is, he drew the best hand in a poker game and won a restaurant, and that made all the difference.

Later, the family owned the Dairy Queen building right off I-55 for twenty-five years, which seemed like a perfect spot. He grew up in the business. “I started working in the family restaurant at age fourteen,” says the entrepreneur. When the Dairy Queen closed, people who met Randall on the street would ask, “When are you going to open that place back up?” Randall had planned on becoming an interior decorator, but after attending a few culinary schools, he knew his true calling was to open a beautiful restaurant.

Randall opened Patty Ann’s Restaurant in 2005 and completely changed the decor. Instead of the vinyl-covered booths, now the interior is art-deco, with antiques, white tablecloths, and fresh flowers. As an alternative to fast-food, family recipes make up the elegant menu. Shiny chrome mirrors and miniature lights give it a casual-posh effect. Yet, a feeling of nostalgia welcomes customers; his grandmother’s Blue Willow China adorns the walls. The restaurant is named in honor of Randall’s mother, Patricia (Patty) Ann, who still does the bookkeeping and often greets customers. Randall’s grandmother is also there occasionally, too. “When you put in sixteen- to seventeen-hour days, you want a place to feel like home,” Randall adds.

Photo by Carolyn Tomlin.

People are often intrigued by the giant chicken sign seen from the road. “Several years ago, we allowed a vendor to set up on our lot and sell large signs in the shape of elephants, giraffes, and other animals,” Randall says. “In return, he gave us the chicken.”

He adds, “I would say that 90 percent of our recipes are from my family. Everything is made from scratch and cooked on-site. Local produce provides summer vegetables. You could describe the options as Southern comfort food.” The menu includes appetizers, salads, build-your-own burgers, soups, specialty sandwiches, and a daily house special. A secret family recipe, using five ingredients with flour and an egg wash, makes the chicken livers a favorite item. One customer described them as “tender on the inside with a crispy exterior. Some of the best I’ve ever eaten!”

Randall Crawford and Tiffany Heathcock. Photo by Carolyn Tomlin.

And desserts? Tiffany Heathcock, the professional baker, makes a fresh strawberry cake weighing five pounds and containing one pound of butter, three pounds of cream cheese, and four cups of powdered sugar. She makes about three daily. Meringue on the homemade pies has at least twelve egg whites—and looks as high as a cat’s back!

Entertainment comes with the meal. On Thursday nights, guitar music serenades customers. And on Friday and Saturday evenings, a keyboard and songs echo across the Bootheel.

Open 11 am to 9 pm
Closed Sundays and Mondays
1302 Route 84, Hayti • 573-359-1926
Facebook: Patty Ann’s Restaurant