Larry and Barbara Smith, owners of Country Lakes Cafe in Marion, say they are looking forward to bringing something new and exciting to town while at the same time boosting the local economy.
“We are proud to be a part of the Marion County community with its rich and historical heritage,” Barbara said. “We are only one business in the midst of several unique shops in Marion and around the county.”
After months of researching what is and what is not successful, Barbara said she came up with the idea of a murder mystery theater as a new feature for their restaurant.
“Business owners need to be creative,” she said, “and the restaurant is a fun business to be in, but I wanted to shake things up a bit.”
The first mystery dinner is “Mystery on the Titanic,” with a premiere showing at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20.
The first performance, Barbara said, will be a “Thank you to Marion County.”
“This will be a customer-appreciation event and our way of thanking everyone for their continued support,” she said.
Although the first performance is by reservation only, Barbara said the restaurant can host about 90 people.
The premiere also will give the Country Lakes Cafe a chance to practice.
How it works
Without giving away too much of the mystery and dinner experience, Barbara said the meal will be “first-class,” with hors d’oeuvres, a Greek salad, prime rib with all the trimmings and a dessert.
“When someone makes a reservation, they will get a packet which tells each person in the group what character they are,” she said.
The night of the mystery-dinner, each table of guests will receive hors d’oeuvres and the game will begin.
“I will have each group’s character lines,” Barbara said, “and restaurant staff will guide guests through the game, and each table is playing their own game.”
In addition, each person at the table is the actor and will be asked to come dressed as a specific character.
“This is going to be a lot of fun,” Barbara said. “The tables will have linen tablecloths, food will be served on China and everyone will have a part to play.”
Everyone attending should also allow between 21?2 to three hours for the event.
“This is a great way to entertain groups for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas parties or other occasions,” Barbara said. “We have so many small to medium-sized companies that this would make the perfect Christmas party.”
Lots of surprises
The premiere event Nov. 20 will be the kickoff of the murder mystery dinner. For the next four to five selected Saturdays, Barbara said, groups can make reservations for “Mystery On the Titanic.”
Barbara said she and husband Larry, along with the restaurant, are fortunate to be a part of Marion, which is a “very scenic rural town nestled between two lakes.”
It’s difficult to know whether guests will consider the murder mystery dinner a success or not, but Barbara said she has worked for months on it, doing research and hoping it will be a hit with guests.
“I was thinking, what can we do to bring people here more often because we do have so much to offer,” she said.
In her efforts to make this new event a go, Barbara said she has been advertising it in communities such as McPherson, Wichita, Hesston and Marion County.
Barbara said she didn’t want to get away too many details about the event.
“All I can say is we are ready. We have all our supplies and we have completed our shopping for these special nights.”
For more information, or to make a reservation for the customer appreciation night or a future murder mystery dinner, call 620-382-2901.