My experience with Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro goes back to the very beginning. It was the late 90’s and the Benton Arkansas food scene was about as exciting as watching the grass grow in the winter. My mother worked in a dental office and there was this new restaurant opening called Dizzy’s across the parking lot.
I still remember the initial feedback. It ranged from “this place is too fancy” to “I can’t believe she hired this person or that person to work there”. Mostly the feedback was “it will never last”.
I naturally love an underdog story for some reason, so it turned me into a fan before I ever ate there. Now fast forward over 20 years, and that initial feedback was clearly wrong. The underdog not only won but succeeded in every way. That underdog was Darla Huie who started Dizzy’s (get to know her here) and she built a legacy that she eventually carried to Little Rock and grew even more.
“Darla asked us about it, I looked over the numbers and everything was great. This is not like most restaurant transactions, there is absolutely nothing to fix here,” Dugan says. “I really want to spend the first few months in the kitchen learning everything I can about the operations. I am really excited about the creativity in Dizzy’s, and being able to involve myself on that side.”
Expect few changes if any to Dizzy’s any time in the near future. Dugan says one of the things that immediately struck him was how well ran Dizzy’s was from top to bottom.
In fact, it was the strength of the restaurant that led Huie to decide to sell the space in the first place.
“I wanted to sell at the right time, not out of necessity. The restaurant is doing better than ever so it is the perfect time to step away,” Huie explained. “I have done this for a long time and I am ready for a break. It will give me some much needed time to spend with my family and be there for them in a way I couldn’t otherwise. At the same time, Dizzy’s is like a kid to me. One that is ready to grow up and move on. It is extremely emotional letting go of the restaurant, but I couldn’t think of anyone better to take it over than Don and Tasha. They were my first and only call when I made the decision.”
Dugan’s experience, familiarity with the neighborhood, and Huie’s personal trust should set Dizzy’s up for continued success for years to come. It certainly outlived and outgrew any expectations from when it started all those years ago. It is something that, at the end of a successful career, Huie can smile about and Dugan can be proud to carry on.
Huie says she plans to be in the restaurant until the end of this week, and then in and out the following week. After that, she is going to fully turn it over to Dugan and only serve as an as needed consultant. Dizzy’s is planning a farewell party over the weekend for friends and frequent guests to come to say goodbye to Huie in the restaurant one last time.