Papa Don’s celebrates 20 years in Fort Scott

This week, Papa Don’s restaurant in downtown Fort Scott celebrated its 20th anniversary in the city, where it continues to provide pizza and other menu items and services to the community on a daily basis.

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“I’d like to sincerely congratulate you guys from the chamber and the community on your 20 years of service to Fort Scott,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lindsay Madison said.

Named after current general manager Brita Rygmyr’s grandfather, who helped finance the family’s endeavor, Papa Don’s has changed locations and owners but has been in its current location for the past five years. Rygmyr said they enjoy being in what she called a quaint downtown and such a short distance from the Fort Scott National Historic Site.

“We’re happy to be back here,” Rygmyr said of their arrival in Fort Scott, which first came in 1991 before the family’s decision to sell the business in 2005, only to buy it again in 2011. “We love it.”

After her family was part of the A&W restaurant business for the 20 years, Rygmyr said her family opened the pizza restaurant with her mother’s secret dough recipe and came to Fort Scott at the invitation of the city manager at the time.

“A lot of things that we do is in-house, which is very time-consuming,” Rygmyr said of their services, which include making dough and pizza sauce from scratch each day and grinding their own cheese.

New additions have also come to the menu as Papa Don’s tries to provide for all customers by adding gluten-free items and other menu options for vegans as well as take-and-bake pizzas that can be picked up and then baked at home. Papa Don’s also provides catering and has a back room that can be rented for parties or other events either by the hour or for the price of the food and drinks provided for the visitors.

Fort Scott City Manager Dave Martin congratulated Rygmyr and Papa Don’s for their years of existence and expressed his appreciation for their involvement in the community such as through hosting downtown meetings.

“You have a lot of vision and energy and you love Fort Scott,” Martin complimented Rygmyr and her team at Papa Don’s. “Thank you for being here because it’s helping everybody.”

Other announcements made Thursday during the weekly Chamber Coffee event included:

  • Friday at 5:30 p.m., a groundbreaking ceremony will be held at Gunn Park shelter #7, rain or shine, for the new dog park.
  • Saturday through Monday, the Fort Scott National Historic Site will host live history events in honor of Memorial Day.
  • The summer feeding program begins Tuesday at three locations in Fort Scott; My Father’s House, the senior citizens’ center and the Keyhole. The program will provide free meals to children through July 29, while My Father’s House will also be allowed to feed the parents and have an area on hand for games or reading for the children. At each location, children can submit their name into a drawing for a free bicycle.
  • Friday and Saturday, June 3-4, Fort Scott will host the annual Good Ol’ Days event with a parade, vendors, booths, live music and carnival rides.
  • On Friday June 10, Elks Lodge and the Chamber of Commerce will hold a steak dinner fundraiser together to raise money for the community fireworks.
  • On July 16, My Father’s House will hold a pancake feed fundraiser to raise funds for the fall, school supply program for students, grade 6-12.

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