Visiting The Haystack, Reklaw's newest restaurant, is like visiting parts of the town's history. The restaurant is built on land that was part of farmland the Moore family owned since the 1840s, according to David Moore. Parts of the walls were reclaimed from a 150-year-old house, Michelle Moore said. Old farm equipment and other antiques can be found on shelves and lining the walls, as well.
The Haystack gives off a very strong “local” feel. As well it should, because David and Michelle Moore are building this restaurant to give back to the Reklaw community.
“Everybody says, 'Why would you do it in Reklaw?' Because this is our home, we want to add value to our home,” David said. “This is my childhood home. We came here for all the holidays, it was the place you always came back to and it has a lot of fond memories. We just want to give that to somebody else.
The Haystack has been a project for the Moore family for almost two-and-a-half years. Michelle said they broke ground in November 2015. She added that they had contractors put up the building itself, but everything else inside it has been constructed and installed by her and David.
“We wanted to incorporate some local things from the area,” she said. “We have different wood, different tin, it's come from the local area. People will even stop by and leave stuff at the front door, knowing that we're building: Tractor seats, saws and different things that would be nice to incorporate into the restaurant.”
In a statement to the press, David said they had three main goals for their restaurant:
1. “Branch out and diversify our farm in a way that would help us achieve financial independence while allowing us to build up our community.
2. Add value to our community by creating lasting relationships and physically ministering to our neighbors and friends.
3. And most importantly create an environment that would honor our past generations by providing a meeting place for people to enjoy a fine dining experience while making lasting memories.”
The Moore family wants to offer family-style dining with delicious meals. David said that it will be family food, not fast food. They plan to prepare The Haystack's meals as if they were cooking in their own home, using family recipes. The Haystack will offer a variety of meals, including chicken fried steak, hamburgers, smoked meats, catfish, steaks and several other types of daily specials and southern cooking.
“The community has been very supportive and very helpful, and now they're ready,” Michelle said. “Now, they call and say 'When are you open? You got my tractor seat!' ”
Michelle said the Haystack's hours are subject to change, but initially they will be open from 5-9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. They plan to have a soft opening on May 19, with an official “grand opening” some time next month. The Haystack can be found at the intersection of Highway 204 and County Road 4409.
“We're not doing this to make a ton of money,” David said. “We're doing this so we can give back.”
“We're serving others. It's rewarding.” Michelle added.