ASHLAND A crash course paved the path to a pattern.
Christy Bare, a 19-year emergency room nurse, knew little to nothing about running a restaurant when she and her husband, Bill, decided to open Bombshells Burgers & BBQ in Huntington.
The Louisa native, at times, felt like she bit off more than she could chew.
Thanks to knowledgeable food reps and a constant drive to succeed, the Bares are on the cusp of celebrating the restaurant’s two-year anniversary.
Now, it’s time for No. 2.
The couple is diligently preparing to open Bombshells & Ales at the Carter Avenue/8th Street intersection in Ashland by July 1.
Bombshells & Ales recently struck an agreement with the city of Ashland to turn space that was previously three parking spots into an elevated outdoor-seating deck. It will expand the restaurant’s capacity from 105 to about 130, said Bill Bare. That includes the bar.
Sixty-five parking spots across the street will be available for customers.
Effects of the coronavirus prevented them from opening sooner.
“The one-third seating is not a viable option to start a new restaurant,” Bill Bare said. “Meat prices have more than doubled. Brisket went from $2.99 a pound to $7.99 a pound. Hamburger has more than doubled, too.”
The Bares operated Wild Horses for two weeks after purchasing it from the previous owner. The COVID-19 pandemic hit, closing the restaurant. The owners offered jobs to each Wild Horses employees. Several of them will stay on board, but Christy Bare is in the process of adding more to the staff.
Bombshells & Ales has a 1940s theme as opposed to the Huntington restaurant’s 1950s environment. The menu will be similar, but the Ashland eatery will sell alcohol.
The restaurant’s liquid menu will feature a variety of beer, margaritas, liquor and mixed drinks. One unique offering is a 100-ounce mortar from which patrons can dispense their favorite beverage at the table.
“You gotta have something people want to take a picture with and put on Facebook,” Christy Bare said with a smile.
Running a bar will supply the Bares a new challenge. The restaurant is connected to their gun range in Huntington, so alcohol didn’t fit the bill.
“I’m hopeful we have good reps that will teach me the ways,” Christy Bare said. “Our front-house manager is staying, and she has a lot of knowledge there.”
It will be family-friendly as well, the Bares assured.
Bill Bare said the theme is World War II. The former police officer and military veteran wants people to remember what the men, women and children of America did to retain freedom and life as Americans know it.
Another highlight of the restaurant is the Armco Room, which pays tribute to the steel mill that provided for many area families for generations.
“It’s a tribute to our heritage,” said Bill Bare, who is originally from Chesapeake. He’s been in Ashland for 20-plus years. Both Bares said Ashland is home, which makes this investment even more exciting.
Classic rock will be the choice genre, as opposed to the ’50s, Happy Days-era tunes in the Huntington location.
Bombshells & Ales will be the latest business venture for the Bares. They own two gun ranges, a T-shirt business, three mall stores (Ashland, Lexington and Huntington) and Bare Arms Custom Holsters in addition to the restaurants.
The Bares purchased the former C.R. Thomas building on Greenup Avenue in January. They have worked on preliminary plans on that property, but they’re not ready to unveil anything just yet.
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