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FORT SHAWNEE — The building looks pretty much the same as it once did. The owners haven't aged badly either. And there will no doubt be a few familiar faces at the bar. But don't expect the Beef and Bourbon to be exactly the same place it was when last it opened its doors five years ago.The popular restaurant is once again open. Five years after a $1 million fire shut down the business, owners Dan and Cheryl Risser have decided to get back in the game. And this time, they mean game literally.“I'll admit, I wasn't in any hurry to get back into it. After five years, I sort of got used to having my weekends free. But it was here, and Tracy (Risser) had pretty much gotten everything ready, so I figured I might as well go for it,” Dan Risser said.The restaurant, on Shawnee Road just south of Breese Road, itself has been in business since the mid-1970s, under a variety of owners and names — the Stockade, Maxwells, White Birch Inn and John's House of Prime — before Risser opened the Beef and Bourbon in 1990. The Beef and Bourbon and attached bar, the Twist and Shout, grew in popularity until October 2006, when a late-night fire forced its closing. The cause of the fire was never discovered.Risser talked about reopening after the fire, but other things took precedent. He spent time with his family, coached some local football and basically enjoyed those aforementioned free weekends. Then last October, his brother Tracy decided he wanted to reopen the bar side. In the process, he rehabbed the dining space and replaced the damaged kitchen equipment. By the time he was done, the place was close to complete and Dan decided it was time to get back to work.“Tracy's the one who really grabbed the bull by the horns. About September, we decided to reopen. Tracy and I just strapped on a paintbrush and started painting,” Dan Risser said.After a brief run with tropical colors, the restaurant and bar are now back to natural browns and wood. Risser has updated the decor with a Wild West theme complete with animal hides, Western art and the front half of a massive bison jutting out of the wall.The theme carries over to the menu. It still includes some of the items that made the place popular, but Risser has added some wild game offerings, including elk tenderloin, buffalo and a Mountain Man Meatloaf crafted of ground bison, beef and venison. And the restaurant continues to offer a range of steaks, including a 20-ounce porterhouse Risser calls the King Ranch.“I decided if we were going to be involved, we were going to do something different. I looked at a bunch of menus and pretty much took out anything that seemed like it was on everything. We have some of the regular things, but we try to make them different,” Risser said.Different means traditional cheese sticks are actually fried pepper jack cheese breaded to order. Meatballs are made with bison meat. In addition to Buffalo wings, they have Buffalo hog wings — Southwestern barbecued pork shanks. And along with the more traditional pan fried walleye, they offer bluegill filets dipped in buttermilk and breading and deep fried.“If you grew up a kid in this part of Ohio, you ate bluegill. I thought this would be something fun and new to offer,” Risser said. For now, the restaurant will open at 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Risser has plans to launch an after-church Sunday buffet after the first of the year. The business also will be open for dinner New Year's Eve. They're even dropping the cover charge on the bar side.“We are going to sort of start off slow and see what happens,” Risser said. “We think there's still a need for someplace nice to eat out here. Now we just have to get people in here again.”

  1. Beef and Bourbon back from the flames

  2. Beef and Bourbon back from the flames

  3. Beef and Bourbon back from the flames
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