Papa Mike’s lives on

The Weekly Vista - - News - LYNN ATKINS

A post on Face­book caused a stir around Bella Vista on Fri­day when a wo­man re­ported on the group Bella Vista Neigh­bors that Papa Mike’s, the restau­rant in the Kings­dale Club­house, would close due to the POA re­fus­ing to re­new a lease.

A dozen of Papa Mike’s loyal cus­tomers chimed in, prais­ing his grilled cheese, cat­fish, prices and am­bi­ence. There was talk of a pe­ti­tion and ques­tions about reach­ing the POA board mem­bers.

Even­tu­ally POA spokesman Sam Hen­dren posted a com­ment signed by Gen­eral Man­ager Tom Jud­son: “Papa Mike has done a great job over the last 13 years. Dur­ing this 13-year pe­riod, the av­er­age lease term has been ap­prox­i­mately two years. The cur­rent lease was ex­e­cuted in 2016 and will ex­pire at the end of 2018.

“Ap­prox­i­mately six months be­fore the cur­rent lease ex­pires, Papa Mike and the POA will sit down to ne­go­ti­ate a new lease. No de­ci­sion has been made re­gard­ing a fu­ture lease that has not yet been ne­go­ti­ated.”

The pur­ported demise was news to Papa Mike him­self — Mike Hud­gins — who posted, “Mike from Papa Mike’s, let me have a few com­ments about this sit­u­a­tion. First let me say that I am in my 13th year with Papa Mike’s and that I have al­ways had I think a good re­la­tion­ship with the POA. When I signed the ex­ist­ing con­tract, I was ab­so­lutely told that there was no ex­ten­sion avail­able. That clause was specif­i­cally re­moved from the lease. I’m glad to hear that there is a pos­si­ble re­newal avail­able.

“I have been told by nu­mer­ous peo­ple that I am re­tir­ing and that’s why Papa Mike’s is go­ing away. Re­tire­ment is some­thing that I per­son­ally have not talked about and I won’t for at least 10 years. Papa Mike’s will live on some­where! It would be great to be in the cur­rent lo­ca­tion. Thank you for your con­cerns. If the sit­u­a­tion changes, I’ll be the first to let you know.

All to­gether 111 com­ments were posted. A few peo­ple were ask­ing for more in­for­ma­tion but many were clearly be­hind Papa Mike and an­gry at the POA.

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