Shady Cliff Resort on Lake Malone has a celebrated past, but its future is looking even brighter. Ken Crandall of Owensboro and his family recently bought the resort – which includes a restaurant, 24-room lodge, marina, bait shop and small event center – and are in the process of completely renovating the property.
“We have really high hopes for it,” Crandall said. “It’s going to be a project of love.”
As the only restaurant on the lake, Shady Cliff has been a popular spot for more than 30 years for area residents and those who visit the lake to enjoy its natural beauty.
The entire property is currently closed for renovation. Crandall plans to reopen the restaurant by the first of February, with the rest of the resort up and running by the end of May. The restaurant will be open from Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.
Crandall is a local businessman who owns Carpets Unlimited, Crandall’s Home Furnishings and several real estate properties, including partnership in six hotels. The Crandall family (he and his wife have three grown sons with families of their own) bought the Shady Cliff property knowing the restoration would be a major project.
While Crandall is not sure yet how much the entire renovation will cost, workers are completely updating the restaurant and lodge, including laying new floors, installing new furniture, replacing old wood pieces and re-staining all of the wood. The bait shop will also be updated, the docks at the marina will be completely overhauled, the parking lot has been resealed and the Crandalls are adding a country store to the mix.
“We’ve already done a lot of work,” Crandall said.
Two of his sons will run the resort. Jeremy, who has outdoor experience owning a whitewater rafting company, will manage the hotel, marina and stores. Justin, a chef who formerly ran Pangea Café and Catering in Owensboro, will operate the restaurant.
The family also plans to add hiking trails, canoes and kayaks to provide more outdoor experiences for guests. All hotel rooms have a lake view, and panoramas from the restaurant are beautiful as well. Crandall envisions a Gatlinburg-style resort nestled in the hills around the lake.
“We’re going to make this thing a destination point,” he said. They also plan to host small corporate retreats in the events center.
Crandall and his family owned a home at Lake Malone years ago, and he actually made an offer for Shady Cliff 10 years ago that didn’t work out. His interest was renewed when he visited the lake last year, and this time, his offer was accepted.
At almost 70 years old, Crandall shows no signs of slowing down. He gets to work every day at 4:30 a.m. and puts in 80-hour weeks.
“I love to work,” he said. “I love to see things happen.”
Shady Cliff Resort is located at 530 Lake Malone Road in Lewisburg, Ky. Visitors will be welcome at the restaurant starting February 1, with the rest of the property open by the end of May. Check the Shady Cliff Facebook page for more information and to make reservations for a special Valentine’s Day dinner.