Slowly but surely, people are discovering a unique new restaurant in Payson.

“It’s a little slow going to get everybody to catch onto it,” said Clay Broadhead. “Probably 40-50% of our customers say ‘I didn’t know you were here. When did you open?’”

Lasso American Scratch Kitchen opened at 1111 S. Beeline Highway on May 25.

Clay and Kelly Broadhead wanted to bring a different kind of eatery to Rim Country. And that’s just what they’ve done.

“Everything is made from scratch,” Clay said. “It’s an old-school term and we like the vintage stuff and old school is kind of what we’re going for. The only thing we’re not able to make from scratch is bread because that would take some big equipment.

“Even our ice cream is homemade. We actually have a vintage style homemade ice cream parlor.”

Lasso American Scratch Kitchen offers food you can’t get at other area food spots. “We want to do something that hasn’t been done, where we’re not getting in the way of anybody else,” Clay said.

They serve stone fired margarita pizza, barbecue chicken pizza, sweet and spicy meatballs, truffle fries, a variety of cast iron, baked macaroni and cheeses, blackened Atlantic salmon, grilled lemon chicken and dumplings, as well as a variety of burgers and sandwiches like shrimp rolls, buttermilk ranch chicken sandwiches, naan bread BLTs and Reubens, country fried steak and fries, house breaded chicken strips, a variety of salads, kids meals. Desserts include homemade ice cream, apple pie à la mode and cherry cheesecake.

Clay is from Wickenburg and Kelly from Chandler. They met at Arizona Culinary Institute in Scottsdale in 2008 and have been together ever since. They’ve been married for five years and welcomed their third daughter on July 6.

Customers who stopped by for a bite to eat around that time found a sign reading: “Closed today owners having a baby.”

That sign stayed on the door for just four days and they were back open.

They’re open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Kelly does the breakfast cooking while Clay watches the kids before coming in to take over for the rest of the day.

Clay’s parents are living in St. George, Utah. Kelly’s parents, Viola and Greg Hollingsworth, once owned Vi’s Ice Cream Parlor in Apache Junction.

They came to Payson to help with the restaurant and to be near their granddaughters.

“They like the vintage stuff, too, and believe in great customer service,” Clay said. “That’s why we work well together. It’s just us four, it’s a family-run business and we do everything we can to make it happen.”

Clay and Kelly both worked at private golf clubs in the Valley. But it just wasn’t for them.

“I’m a country guy,” Clay said. “I grew up around horses and ranches and farming. Going to school and building my career in the Valley, we would come up here and go golfing at Chaparral Pines because I have those connections in the golfing industry. But I love the outdoors, so we’d come up and go fishing, then golfing after that.

“We like small towns and our real passion as we grew in our careers was and is working for working people, doing a good job for working people like us rather than being in the resorts and stuff. We’re working for the working class and it’s about family and community.”

They moved to Colorado before relocating to Payson.

“Life took us to Colorado for the recreation stuff, but we should have gone to Payson first,” Clay said. “The whole COVID-19 thing kind of drove me crazy in a way where I felt I needed to get my own business. We sold the house and the little money we made on the house, I gambled it in this little restaurant.”

He wants Lasso American Scratch Kitchen to remind folks of a simpler time.

“We should have all been born in the 1950s or ’40s,” Clay said. “I envision it being kind of like a drive-in, old school style, affordable, more of an everyday place you can afford to go to and you don’t have to wait for a server,” he said.

“This community will see us grow and change. We’re going to keep changing every week, every day until we can get to our full vision.”

“A big part of our passion for getting that place is we could seat a good amount of people and there’s plenty of parking, and a big patio. We want to create sort of a farmers market look with kind of a pumpkin patch look outside so families can get photos and then we want to have Santa here for photos and hot chocolate, where people can come out and enjoy and it doesn’t have to be expensive. The old school things that are kind of lost, we want to bring them back because people appreciate it.”

Above all, Clay and Kelly want people to feel welcome.

“If they want to get a scoop of ice cream, refill their drinks 10 times, and grab a cookie, go ahead,” Clay said. “We’re parents ourselves, so we get it.”

Yes, they get it.

And now they’re offering it to everyone who walks through their door.

It’s not just great food, although there’s plenty of it because that’s all they serve.

No, there’s something more.

Maybe it’s nostalgia.

See if you can put your finger on it when you stop by for a meal or just a scoop of homemade ice cream.

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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