Goonie’s Sports Bar and Grill will soon be moving to downtown Scottsbluff. Owner Paul Guhn said he plans to convert the Emporium’s former location to 1818 First Ave. in his new place.
The decision to move from the restaurant’s current location on Highway 26 near Target was made because the new building is both more affordable and more central to the city, Guhn told the Star-Herald. He said he wanted to be located downtown to help with the effort to revitalize that neighborhood.
Its aim is also to revitalize its location, expanding the dining area to the northern fence line to provide additional indoor seating.
“When I move Goonie’s here will depend on how long it takes them (the contractors) to build this room,” Guhn said. “…I’m hoping this build will be finished in June because I’d like to have Goonie up and running here by the time Bands on Broadway starts. Until the time comes when it’s time to move Goonie’s, I’m staying where I am.
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The front area will be converted into a sports bar with televisions and Keno. Private parties can be held in a room at the back of the building, one of which will also include eight television screens. Everything from the kitchen to the bathrooms will either be undergoing renovations or have already undergone one.
Until the renovations are complete, Guhn will host private events at the new venue. He said there were already several birthday parties and graduation parties planned. Food for these events will come from the current Goonie building.
“We just make things like shredded chicken sandwiches, barbecue beef…simple things that we can put in roasters and bring to events,” Guhn said. “…If people want more than that, we can pretty much do anything.” People will be able to bring their own alcohol to these private events, but Guhn said he will always provide a bartender to ensure nothing is served to underage guests.
The new building’s menu will still serve the same cuisine as the current Goonie location. Guhn said he was impressed with the size of the building’s fully equipped kitchen and would continue to improve it by adding a larger grill. The kitchen has a drive-thru window, which Guhn said he would remodel to allow for pick-up orders.
The patio will also receive several new features. Guhn plans to add either a roof of a pergola to provide outdoor diners with some protection from the elements. He also plans to add flame decorations to the existing white pillars and incorporate a television for diners to watch. He said that if he built a staircase, he could also offer rooftop dining at the restaurant.
Once all the interior and exterior renovations have been completed, the restaurant will be able to accommodate up to 130 guests.
“I am personally very excited for this. I think it’s going to open up a lot of new opportunities for Goonie’s,” said general manager Autumn Jacobucci. “It really responds to multiple opportunities.”
She said the building will be in a convenient location for customers, especially in the summer. The goal is to transfer all employees when it opens around June, she said.
The new location arrived fairly quickly. Guhn began talks to buy the old Emporium building in January. Guhn said he wants to be closer to downtown businesses, as well as 18th Street Plaza, to attend some of the events commonly held there.
He had purchased a food truck in preparation for Bands on Broadway, but then discovered that the First Avenue location was available. He bought the building instead and sold the food truck.
“Our thought process is that we want to be here for all of this ongoing revitalization and I think the city is doing a great job,” he said.
Guhn opened his restaurant in Terrytown in 2013. He moved it to Gering in 2016 before moving it to its current Scottsbluff location.