brent smith, the frontier again

In this July 15 file photo, Brent Smith discusses plans for reopening The Frontier as the The Frontier Again 10 years after the former restaurant closed. The location is the same, the motel at 2300 Lincoln Way that now bears the name Quality Inn.

CLINTON — The Frontier — a restaurant that brings back memories for many Clintonans.

It was best known for its fish fry, but the business closed, along with Remington’s and the Best Western that housed them, in October 2010 when Ashford University bought the motel and turned it into student housing.

Now The Frontier is coming back, to an extent, but the business group that owned the original restaurant, and the Baker family that started it, say the new restaurant is not a part of their company.

“We wish them well with their restaurant,” Dan Huber, CEO, Co-Owner of Frontier Hospitality Group said. “But, they do not have our permission or our blessing to use the fish fry recipes and specifications that were developed by the family.”

Huber said the company and the Baker family are not associated with the “new” The Frontier and said the offerings are not the same as what the Bakers brought to Clinton decades ago. The Frontier Group still runs The Frontier restaurant in the Quad Cities Best Western SteepleGate Inn.

“As we ramp our food and beverage operations back to full throttle, we will resume offering the Frontier’s famous fish fry at our Best Western Plus SteepleGate location in Davenport, Iowa,” Huber said.

Huber’s not sure exactly when he will be able to bring back the fish fry due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but said it is in the company’s plans.

Brent Smith, who is opening The Frontier Again, said he purchased the LLC with an attorney through the State of Iowa. He said he legally owns the name and will speak with his attorney about Huber’s press release.

“My attorney is actually Bob Gallagher, the mayor of Bettendorf,” Smith said. “He does all the research on all of that before anything is going to be posted. I had to wait for him to give me the go-ahead to do any type of press release on this until we knew the names were 100% ours, and we owned them.”

Smith said that he spoke with a member of the Baker family which inspired him to reboot The Frontier restaurant.

Huber stands by his words. For the original Frontier owners it’s not a legal matter, he said. They simply wanted to let the public know that the original Frontier and the Baker family have no dealings with the reboot.

Huber said they wish the new owner luck and want nothing but good things for the Clinton area. They simply wanted to clear up any potential confusion.

The Baker family could not be reached for comment.