WICHITA — Officially, Dan Crandall has been the general manager of Spear’s Restaurant & Pie Shop for most of the 26 years he’s worked there.
Unofficially, he’s known as “the pie guy.”
Now, he has a new title: owner.
“It’s really one of these neat deals,” Crandall says. “It’s kind of a progression of things that I’ll just take over.”
The business has been in the Spear family since Gene and Betty Spear founded it in 1956. Spear’s had a chain of six restaurants at one time. Now, it has one restaurant at 4323 W. Maple.
The Spears’ son, Randy Spear, first became a co-owner in 1980. Through the years, various family members have been part of the business, but Spear has been the sole owner for the last decade.
“It feels really good going with Dan,” Spear says of selling. He calls it “kind of a mixed blessing, I guess.”
“It would be much harder if it was someone else coming in that we weren’t familiar with. Dan has been a strong member of our team for so long that it’s very easy for it to happen now.”
Crandall says he’s “worked with him very, very closely over the years” and he “pretty much (knows) everything there is to know about it.”
Still, he says, “it’s a really scary venture.”
“I’m just trying to get my wits about me and just go forward.”
Spear’s Catering is part of the sale.
Crandall says he doesn’t plan a lot of changes, but there will be some.
“Going forward, you’ll see a lot of the same things, and yet Dan’s a creative and an out-of-the-box thinker and is anxious to try new things,” Spear says.
That includes more pies.
“Eventually I would like to broaden our pie sales into a wholesale level,” Crandall says. “That’s always been a goal of mine.”
The French silk pie is his personal favorite, although if the season is right, Crandall loves the strawberry glaze pie.
“He is our expert on pies,” Spear says. “That is obviously one of the things we have become known for.”
Spear says the restaurant is fortunate to have longtime employees and customers. Crandall agrees.
“We’ve done a real good job of taking care of our customers.”
He says Spear’s is a “great company, great family.”
“I just want to continue on the tradition.”