From bingo to BBQ, Country Crossing's rebirth?

File Photo: John Anderson's Cafe on the Country Crossing complex.
File Photo: John Anderson's Cafe on the Country Crossing complex.

DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - What was once planned as a destination point for electronic bingo has morphed into other ideas for the closed Country Crossing facility in Dothan. Plans for the facility include a barbecue restaurant.

Robin Thagard, who owns Colby's locations in Ozark and downtown Dothan, says she will be bringing her traditional Southern cooking to the development and adding an upscale touch.

Thagard says one new restaurant will be called John Anderson's Cafe featuring Colby's. She says the restaurant will provide offerings similar to the country cooking at her current locations, along with other food such as filets and ribeye steaks.

She's also planning a restaurant called A.D-Licious Barbecue. Her partner in that project is former Southern Mississippi football player Adalius Thomas, now an NFL free agent after being released last year by the New England Patriots.

Thagard says the target date to open the restaurants is June 9.

Developer Ronnie Gilley created Country Crossing as a way to bring big music acts and tourists to the Wiregrass. Part of the allure was electronic bingo.

The facility closed shortly after its grand opening in 2010 in an effort to keep then Alabama Governor Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling from siezing the machines, which Riley insisted were illegal.

Gilley ultimately pleaded guilty to 11 counts in a federal corruption case involving bribery of Alabama legislators over favorable gambling legislation.

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.