NEWARK, Mo. -- The Heartland Community plans to close its Ozark Steakhouse on Aug. 31, but the Ozark Lodge will remain open.
The Ozark Lodge & Steakhouse have been operating in the same facility on the Heartland Community's campus for about two decades. The popular restaurant has been open only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays plus Sunday mornings.
As of Aug. 31, the steakhouse portion of the operation will stop serving as a public restaurant, but it will continue to be used for special events, including weddings, parties and conventions.
Mauricio Toro, operations manager for Sharpe Holdings, which manages the sprawling Heartland Community ?farming and ministerial operation launched by the late Charles Sharpe Jr., said the steakhouse is being closed "to boost the health" of Heartland's Solid Rock Cafe, which operates elsewhere on the campus.
"We realized the two restaurants were competing" for the same customers, Toro said.
The Ozark Lodge & Steakhouse recently announced on its Facebook page "it is with the deepest of regrets" that the steakhouse will stop serving food effective Aug. 31.
"Our sincere thanks go to our many faithful patrons who have dined with us throughout the years," the posting said. "We invite you to continue dining at Heartland, just up the street at the Solid Rock Cafe, and to stay connected on our website and social media sites for details in the months to come."
The statement said customers who have gift certificates for the steakhouse can use them for dining at the Solid Rock Cafe or for lodging at the Ozark Lodge.
"We are focusing on making it (Ozark Lodge) more of a conference center," Toro said. "But the main focus now is on making the cafe succeed."
Toro said Heartland officials are working on a redesign of the cafe's menu "to include some of our star sellers from the steakhouse."
When Charles Sharpe died Feb. 1, 2017, at age 89, he left behind the Sharpe Land and Cattle business that he founded years ago along with the Heartland Community operations and 18,000 acres of land in Lewis, Knox and Shelby counties used for crops and beef cattle -- all now managed by Sharpe Holdings.
Since then, Sharpe Holdings has been focusing on the remaining operations that Sharpe started, including the Heartland Community, which encompasses children's homes, men's and women's recovery programs, Heartland Community Church, CNS International Ministries Inc., Heartland Christian Academy and Heartland Christian College.
Last year, Sharpe Holdings announced plans to sell the Heartland Dairy and Heartland Creamery businesses so it could concentrate more on crop operations and the service industries on the Heartland campus.
"All these things that we are doing have one purpose," Toro said. "We are aligning everything we do to our vision, which is to help troubled youth" and to work with men and women facing "life-controlling issues."