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Golden Horseshoe to remain open as ownership changes

October 7, 2018

Lake Havasu City has more registered show cars per capita than any other town in the U.S. It was one of the first things Oregon restaurant owner Melissa Lucas researched when she decided to expand her business.

Farrell’s Golden Horseshoe changed hands this month after Lucas agreed to purchase the property from owner Maryann Farrell. The restaurant will remain open as the Golden Horseshoe begins its transition under a new generation, and a new direction.

The property has all of the appearance of the Western saloon it once was. Its rustic timber façade rests before a parking lot of dust and gravel, with wagon wheels and old weather vanes to mark the property. It’s a place unlike any other in the community of Desert Hills, and it’s also one of Lake Havasu City’s most popular steakhouses.

The Golden Horseshoe was purchased by Havasu residents Todd Farrell and his wife, Maryann Farrell in the mid-1990s. Once vacant, with windows boarded over, Todd Farrell had a vision for the property – a vision that slowly expanded over 20 years. After Farrell’s death in 2016, Maryann assumed ownership of the business in her husband’s memory.

Farrell’s vision for his restaurant, however, was that much harder to maintain without him.

“When I asked about the property, they told me it had been on the market for two years,” Lucas said. “It was listed at $1.2 million – not just for the restaurant, but the house behind it as well. I thought, ‘something must be wrong for it’.”

Lucas inquired on Facebook about the Golden Horseshoe, and soon received a reply from an associate who had recently visited the Golden Horseshoe.

“He said it was his favorite restaurant,” Lucas said. “He was surprised it was still open. I asked him why, and if there was something wrong with it. He told me the owner had recently died.”

Lucas contacted Maryann Farrell this summer, and expressed interest in purchasing the property. They met in person shortly afterward.

“I could tell she was really sad,” Lucas said. “When she bought the restaurant it had been boarded up. They renovated it, and built this big, amazing house on the property … I made her a full-price offer on the property, including the house. We were the answer to each other’s prayers.”

Lucas intends to learn from Farrell and her staff as they slowly trade places, beginning the Golden Horseshoe’s transition into a new branch of Lucas’s Salem, Oregon restaurant, BlondZee’s. A unique restaurant in its own right, BlonZee’s features a patented “glass garage,” in which customers will be able to park their classic show cars for display at the restaurant. Lucas says it’s a feature that will arrive at her new restaurant next year.

While the menu is expected to remain much the same, Lucas said, the Horseshoe’s salad bar will be removed. The décor will also change, Lucas said, as the clutter of eccentric decoration may not coincide with her vision for her own restaurant. Some of the decoration may remain, in honor of Farrell’s husband, but much will be sold to recover a portion of Lucas’s business costs.

“There’s a lot of funky, over-the-top fun stuff here,” Lucas said. “We will sell some things, but others will be put in a photo booth as a tribute to Todd. He was fiercely loved by people here in Havasu.”

Lucas’s ambition won’t end in Havasu, though.

“I want restaurants globally,” Lucas said. “I’m planning to open one in Lake Tahoe next. Havasu is a necessary step in what I’m trying to do. I’ve had many years to plan and prepare.”

As the Golden Horseshoe begins its transition, Lucas says the restaurant will remain open. The restaurant’s popular salad bar will still be available until its removal next weekend.

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