Customers will be welcomed inside the new Flat Creek restaurant beginning at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Flat Creek founder promises a smooth opening for a restaurant worth the wait

Bob Foos

Flat Creek founder Alan Kram is here for the opening and plans to stay for six weeks. He gladly shows off the large kitchen, which he calls the “back of the house.”

Webb Citians’ dream of having a family sit-down style restaurant is about to come true.

Flat Creek restaurant, 215 S. East Street (across from Atwoods), will have a by-invitation soft opening this weekend to complete training for 150 employees and then open to the public at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 6.

From the exterior, the new building has been ready for at least a couple of months. Walk through the door, though, and you’ll see how much work there was to be done inside.

In addition to the dining areas, there is a spacious sports bar and window for to-go orders. Signs cover every wall, and there’s a scooter hanging from the ceiling.

Alan Kram, co-owner and co-operator, stresses the importance given to the preparation side of the restaurant.

“You guys (customers) don’t care about the back of the house,” he says, but it’s what “allows us to make everything fresh.” He points out bags of breading for the catfish and chicken that is made especially to be the same at all four Flat Creek locations.

In fact, Kram says, “The back of the house is almost as big as the front of the house.”

Big opening expected

“We expect some pretty big crowds” early on, says Kram. “We want to make it as smooth an opening as possible.

“The last thing you want to do – for customers and employees – is to fail” when first impressions are formed.

Ensuring that smooth opening is the only reason for the delay, says Kram.

It wasn’t because they couldn’t find enough employees.

They had a good hiring response, says Kram, with 150 employees for a big opening week. Once it’s settled down, Kram estimates it will take 120 employees to run the operation. “We’re excited we can pull that many.”

Penny Murdock, general manager of this location, says 80% of the employees are from Webb City, including some football players.

Twenty experienced managers and employees from other Flat Creeks have been brought in to help train for the opening, and new core employees have been training for weeks at the other locations.

Citing confidence in the Flat Creek training process, Kram notes that his partner, Josh Rasmussen, used to travel the country getting restaurants started.

Kram says he will stay six weeks to help manage and then go back to rotating among their seven restaurants. Besides the four Flat Creeks, the company operates three Billy Gale’s breakfast-and-lunch restaurants – two in Branson and one in Ozark – which are known for their 14-inch pancakes.

They also own Swing Coast Roofs and Gutters, based in Ozark.

Sold on Webb City

Flat Creek expanded from its original location in Cape Fair (west of Branson) to Republic and then just recently to Bolivar.

And for a couple of years, Kram says they were looking at Joplin.

But they were swayed to Webb City by City Administrator Carl Francis, who tried to convince them this is where they need to be when he ate at Cape Fair and Republic.

“He just took a big part in us coming here,” Kram says. The city itself has “been a real pleasure working with.

“It makes it easy when you have a community behind you.”

This is the view as you enter the front door and two dining views.

The bar and “Food Ta-Go” window.

The following is printed on the front of the new menus. Desserts are a new addition, as is Webb City as one of Flat Creek’s four locations.

Our story

Alan Kram has been in the food industry for over 45, years. When Flat Creek in Cape Fair came on the auction block in 2009, he wanted it. With the help and encouragement of his family they were able to purchase the restaurant.

Success was not easy. Flat Creek had many problems. It could only, accommodate about 50 customers and the kitchen was way too small. Against all odds, it was up to Alan to make this restaurant a success. Word spread that Flat Creek served great food and Alan and his staff really cared about the customers.

Customers started coming in and they soon became friends.

They were encouraged to bring in memorabilia to decorate the bare walls and ceiling of Flat Creek. They brought special items to personalize the restaurant. Now Flat Creek’s walls and ceiling tell a story about these friends.

Support from the locals helped make Flat Creek what it is today. The seating capacity has increased from serving 50 customers at a time to now over 300 customers.

Alan met Josh shortly thereafter. Josh has been in food service for over 25 years, accompanied with a stellar reputation with the industry and the people in it. Alan and Josh complement each other well and continue to grow their businesses.

In 2019, Alan and Josh opened a second Flat Creek location in Republic. In early 2020, they bought the ever famous Billy Gail’s in Branson, serving breakfast and lunch. They quickly expanded and brought the signature 14” pancakes to our friends in Ozark later that year with their second Billy Gail’s location, followed by another Branson location at the Branson Mill Shopping Center in 2022.

2023 brought exciting additions as well with the opening of new Flat Creek restaurants in Bolivar and Webb City.

Flat Creek and Billy Gail’s restaurants have become the area’s number one destination restaurants and we want to thank everyone for the ongoing support.

We appreciate you!