In the early morning hours of March 27, 2018, firefighters battled a blaze at Jim’s Bar in Arnold. The fire was contained and the building remained standing, but fire, smoke and water damage was extensive. Since that time, the building has sat idle, with many wondering if it would ever sell, or simply be bulldozed in.
The question was answered on October 4, 2018, when Jesse Halstead and Annie Vettel closed on the property with owner Lee Eastburn, renaming the business Grazers Bar & Grill.
“We had entertained the idea of purchasing the bar back in early spring, then the fire created a setback. The timing was not meant to be…yet, After Lee got everything settled recently, the opportunity was present again. Even with the fire damage, we felt compelled to go forward,” said Annie.
With substantial fire damage to the kitchen, which spread slightly into the bar area, and smoke and heat damage sustained in both the bar and restaurant sides, the new owners immediately began the process of gutting the entire building. Pretty much everything was taken out down to the studs, including walls, ceilings, coolers, bathrooms and floor coverings. A crew was hired to come in for the weekend to help with the demolition, but several people stopped by and rolled up their sleeves to help.
“The community support has been overwhelming. Jim’s Bar has been an iconic landmark in this community for so long, and people are anxious to see it have new life. There’s been so many who have stopped to check it out and express their anticipation for its grand reopening,” said Annie.
After demo, the couple took a little time to think about how the building could be reconfigured. Jesse suggested that they flip it, with the bar on the west side, which will open up into the beer garden, and the restaurant site on the east.
Jesse and Annie, who are full business partners, will be expanding the bar side slightly out the northwest corner, and said they will probably start with just that side and finish that east side as they get a little father down the road. The beer garden will also be undergoing some renovations. With this said, food will be available at the get-go. They hope to open Grazers Bar & Grill in the upcoming months.
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