Big Scoop owners set sights high

News editor

Russ and LeeAnn Stenseng, new owners of the Big Scoop in Marion, aren’t shy about setting an ambitious goal for the restaurant.

They want the Big Scoop to become the place to be for Marion and the surrounding area, to be the place where visitors to town are directed to get a good meal.

“Our secret to success is putting our own stamps on things,” Russ Stenseng said Saturday.

To the Stensengs, that means taking the extra effort and time to make fresh food. One way they’re doing that is by making their hamburger patties by hand instead of buying pre-stamped frozen patties.

“The goal at the end of the day is to cook like we grew up with,” LeeAnn Stenseng said.

That may mean gradually trimming items from the menu, but they feel like it is worth it.

They have instituted a Sunday lunch buffet with fried chicken, other meats, mashed potatoes and gravy, and vegetables. LeeAnn Stenseng wants to add a dinner buffet, too. The big change will be opening for lunch and dinner every day after the start of the new year, she said.

They currently operate two restaurants, the other being the Wildcat Grill in El Dorado. Russ Stenseng said they want to put more emphasis on the Big Scoop, but they got the other restaurant going before they knew there was an opportunity in Marion.

Since purchasing the Big Scoop, the Stensengs have made some physical changes, like painting the exterior and putting new flooring in the dining room. LeeAnn Stenseng said the next item on the checklist is repainting the dining room.

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