Restaurant, bar scene on West Franklin in Evansville growing
Evansville Courier & Press
EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Owners of Bud’s Rockin’ Country Bar & Grill said guests can expect a Nashville vibe, high-quality food and friendly folks when they come by.
Kerry Chesser and Chad Brady said they’re elated to finally be on the verge of opening at 2116 W. Franklin St., in the building that most recently was a Bud’s Harley Davidson shop.
Chesser bought the property in 2014, but his previous plans for a restaurant there were opposed by neighbors and by the Board of Zoning Appeals, which denied necessary parking variances.
“It was exhausting,” Chesser said Wednesday over the sounds of construction happening all around him. “It’s been a thorn in our side for four years.”
That’s all over now. Bud’s Rockin’ Country Bar & Grill is a scaled-back version of what Chesser and Brady first proposed, and minimal city approvals were needed to move the project forward.
Bud’s, which plans a soft opening at 8 p.m. March 22, will be worth the wait, owners said. It will be a 21-and-over establishment, with live entertainment on weekends.
The menu is authored by chef James Shemwell and is available on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
“I like comfort food; I like Southern hospitality,” Shemwell said. “It’s kind of our theme. We’ll make everything from scratch. All the sauces, all the soups. It’s very straight-forward, but the flavors are strong. And it won’t be run-of-the-mill presentation. All the presentations will be more along the lines of fine dining but with simplicity.”
As an example, “we’ll have a country fried steak that with the way we present it, will be different than what people are used to.”
Another potential menu favorite will be the barbecue sundae. It’s a bigger version of the barbecue parfait sold at the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival. The sundae has pulled pork, sauce, mashed potatoes, mac n’ cheese and baked beans in a fish bowl.
Shemwell said the menu will mesh with the restaurant’s staff: “Southern hospitality, friendliness, warmth.”
As for the entertainment, Brady said bands will perform on weekends, possibly starting on Thursday nights.
“A lot of people, when you say country bar, they think sawdust and belt buckles,” Brady said. “But country has changed a lot. Modern country now is pop country. It’s definitely going to be a Nashville vibe.”
When live entertainment isn’t happening, “we’re still going to have a deejay and play dance music,” Brady said. “We might have a karaoke night. We’re feeling it out.”
Owners eventually want to add outdoor seating at Bud’s, “if the city allows it,” Brady said.
If you go
What: Bud’s Rockin’ County Bar & Grill, a new 21-and-up establishment at 2116 W. Franklin St.
When: A soft opening with a limited menu and live entertainment is planned for 8 p.m. March 22, and the public is invited. Owners said they aren’t sure yet when the full menu and normal opening hours will begin. Watch the business’ Facebook page for updates.
Hours: Once Bud’s has its grand opening, it will open daily at 11 a.m., serving lunch and dinner.
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