:: Pink Poodle History ::

Page One

From Crescent Country Courier - December 1991, Volume 18

Diners at the Pink Poodle Steakhouse in Crescent have probably noticed the large wooden arches that form the interior framework of the building. Those arches could well represent the rise of the Pink Poodle, like the mythological phoenix bird, from the ashes of two seperate disasters. In 1972, the well-known Crescent restaurant burned to the ground. And in 1975, a tornado in Omaha leveled another restaurant, the Prom Townhouse. All that was left of it was the arches. Pink Poodle owner, Art Paulison bought the arches and rebuilt around them.

But the history of the restaurant goes far back beyond the 1976 opening of the current building. According to current owner, Mary Jo Paulison, in the 1940's and 50's the property held a house; a bar, Bill's Tavern; and a motel. In the late 50's a couple from Ft. Calhoun, NE. bought it. They built on, joining the house and bar and opened a restaurant they called Pede's.

After a few years, former Crescent resident Jake Brummer bought it and renamed it the Black Glove. In 1964, he changed the name to the Pink Poodle.

In 1966, Art Paulison and a partner bought the restaurant. Mary Jo worked for them and in 1971 inherited some money that she used to buy out the partner. "And the next month, January, 1972, the place burned down," she said.

"The insurance paid off the mortage, but we were left owning a property with nothing on it but an old motel," Mary Jo said. "We remodeled the motel into apartments so we could have somewhere to live. And went to work for other people. Art managed the food service for the Elk's Club in Council Bluffs, and I worked at the Field Club in Omaha."

In 1973 Art and Mary Jo married and began thinking about rebuilding. "We decided there was no percentage in working for others. We wanted to build something for ouselves," Mary Jo said. They obtained a small business loan. Art bought the arches. "And for a year and a half, friends and family helped us rebuild. We'd never have been able to afford it without all the help."

The couple ran the restaurant together untill Art's death in 1985. Mary Jo is now sole owner. "Art taught me everything about people and this business. He forced me to learn. A less generous person wouldn't have worked so hard for my future," she says.

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