As they sat together in the kitchen mixing dough and filling sauce cups, Kris Higbee and Kim Turley fought back tears.
The excitement of being in business together once again, combined with the scope of their new undertaking, stirred their emotions during the initial days of Timbers Lodging & Grill, which fully opened June 25.
“In some ways, we’re so blessed, and so then we cry,” Turley said. “But we’re so tired.”
They may have felt tired, but they looked energetic, moving from task to task, greeting customers and directing employees. The new venture is at the same property the two bought over a decade earlier on Highway 93, just north of Alamo, where they built cabins and a large restaurant and opened Windmill Ridge.
They ran the business as owners for a time, then sold it to Frias Corporation and worked as managers. Later, they stepped away altogether. But when the property was donated to the Girl Scouts, they reached out to see if the organization might be interested in leasing it. A deal was struck and Higbee and Turley, along with Higbee’s daughter Milly Walch, teamed and embarked on Timbers.
Major indoor renovations took place. New tables and decor give the restaurant a fresh look. The vibe is different too, with a focus on providing quality food quickly. Ordering takes place at the front counter and food is served on disposable dinnerware. Patrons are welcome to enjoy their meals in the restaurant or take it to go. In fact, the business will eventually offer a drive-thru window. Customers can also sit on stools at the new soda fountain for soft drinks and shakes.
“Our motto is to provide top-quality service, fast and friendly,” Higbee said. “We want people to come and stay and enjoy the atmosphere and friends and community and company. We want still to have that atmosphere. We just want to be faster.”
The new menu includes “Between the Buns” options (burgers and sandwiches), sides, salads, wraps, individual size pizzas, a kids menu and dinner items starting at 4 p.m. Plus, baked goodies will be offered.
The Frenchy Lake Sandwich, a popular item going back to the Windmill days, is on the menu. “That’s the number-one comeback, and everybody’s been dying for that,” Turley said.
Early reactions are positive and the restaurant is busy. So busy in fact that Walch was in Las Vegas purchasing more supplies on their second day in business. “Milly has been a trooper,” Turley said. “She has been awesome.”
The business employs 20 people, which includes both the restaurant and lodging aspects. Employees are hard at work serving customers and learning on the fly.
“They’ve done so good,” Turley said. “I was so pleased with them [on opening day].”
The owners look forward to settling in, establishing a routine and enjoying a second run at a dream that began all those years ago. The tears surfaced again as they expressed their gratitude for the support they are receiving.
“People have been just so awesome,” Higbee said. “They’re just so positive and so supportive.”