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Celebrating with style: Pine Country Restaurant celebrates 25 years

Pine Country Restaurant is celebrating its 25th year. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

Pine Country Restaurant is celebrating its 25th year. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

Being pretty much raised in Williams by her grandparents, Dee Seehorn wanted to live permanently in her ‘hometown’. So it was decided to open a restaurant right in the middle of the best location possible – across from the visitor center and close to the Grand Canyon Railway Station.

With enough capital, a strong will and a strong work ethic, she successfully started serving homemade-style meals and gorgeous mile-high pies Oct. 13, 1997. Within the first month, they had their first $1,000 day – what happiness! The employees (approximately 10-12 at first) were quite excited to keep the momentum on the increase.

Dee would create new combinations of pie ingredients which led to the ever popular Cherry-Apple-Peach as well as the Blueberry-Apple-Peach. While the cooks would come up with new and delicious meals to add to the menu, Dee would invent more pie delicacies, such as the Hawaiian Delight and Chocolate-Banana-Peanut Butter. That list has grown to over 50 different flavors of pie.

The first phase of Pine Country was what we call the South Side now . . . we had inherited tables from the previous owners of that side which had been a small sandwich shop (Many years ago it had been the Forest Service Office where one of our regulars had worked just inside the front door and then later became DeBerge’s Art Studio)

There were more tables acquired with seating increasing to 66, fully packed with 18 tables. We had a lot of waiting lists, especially during HOG rallies – we had become famous for deliciously filling meals with fabulous pies to top off the visit. They were willing to wait.

Knowing that we were quickly growing out of the present location, the building adjacent to Pine Country, (which had been a KFC years before - as well as the Ford dealer years & years before that) was purchased, refurbished and opened for dining in October 2001 to accommodate a tour group of 30.

That was a fun afternoon with taking out a full wall, cleaning quickly and setting up for the folks.

Another one of Dee’s dreams was to have a gift shop within the restaurant. Items had already been on shelves around on the walls selling regularly, but she wanted a real gift shop. Thus, in November 2001, we were able to make that dream come true. This endeavor became quite a success also.

With the ever increasing travel to see our local wonder – The Grand Canyon – it became evident that we should make use of every inch of the buildings we had

We began the complete overhaul of the buildings in February 2006 with Dee in charge of overseeing all the different aspects of the remodel.

When we moved toward the front of the building, we had to be quite strategic. Our customers were very patient and understanding while this remodel progressed.

When it came time to put some of the finishing touches on the present gift shop, the contractor mentioned that wood on the ceiling would complement the flooring that had already been installed and the gift shop area ceiling was completed.

We put Dee up on the movable scaffolding with gallon after gallon of varnish and a brush and she would masterfully cover every inch within reach.

The other major design for the restaurant is all of the tile work on the floors & on the walls. We had imported all of this beautiful ceramic tile from Mexico and was installed all by us. Finally in June of 2006, a full four months of hard work.

We now were able to seat up to 190 guests at the 35 tables, booths & benches.

Our regular customers were totally in awe of the finished project and came back over & over again just to rejoice with us.

Different phases have taken place over the years such as the coffee bar and gift shop. We sold homemade fudge where the present coffee bar is located until it was moved to the Copper Cabin

All in all, Pine Country has continually grown, matured and developed into a landmark location for many a weary & hungry traveler as well as for our locals. Our motto is: “Where Friends Meet & Locals Eat!” May it always be so . . .

Dee’s employees and family said the following:

“I have worked at Pine Country for 10 years and Dee is the most generous person I know. She is not afraid to jump in on the day to day duties of running the restaurant or just lend an ear if you need to vent.”

“My mom is a strong, kind woman and it reflects in all that she does. Pine Country is a blessing to so many of us. I’m proud to be part of it.”

~Sarah Seehorn

~Kerra Vassabes Perez

“I’ve had the pleasure of professionally working with Dee Seehorn for the past ten years. I admire her passion for the food industry; the way she treats her employees, vendors and guests and for the love she has for her family and community of Williams. The level of customer service and food quality is without any doubt second to none. I have tremendous respect for Miss Dee and it makes me so happy to see her enjoying the fruits of her labor resulting in the success of Pine Country Restaurant."

~Hector Pineda

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