Jersey's changes hands
New owners aim to make restaurant more family oriented
After 10 years, Jersey's Sports Bar & Grill Owner John Hendricks has sold the restaurant, as he is moving into another job in Cassville.
Hendricks said taking the new position at an industry in town was the main reason he decided to sell the bar.
"I was coming through Cassville and saw the building was up for auction," Hendricks said about first buying the bar. "I decided to give it a run since I had the restaurant across the street and liquor store on the corner.
"But, I've been there 10 years and felt it was time to get out of the business. I recently took a position with Marck Recycling in town, and with the time I'll be spending with them, I was at the point I needed to downsize my workload."
Hendricks sold the property to Hank Wilson and Larry Gately, and the new owners plan to make the restaurant more family oriented.
"My buddy Larry and I are sailors, and he got me into sailing," Wilson said. "He always wanted to own a bar and grill. That's one of his dreams, and he's an older fellow, so he asked me to go in on it with him. We're hoping to make it more inviting at lunch and supper time for families."
Hendricks said he had mentioned possibly selling the bar to Wilson and Gately previously, and they worked on a deal for a couple months.
"The building transition was completed this month, and the final business transaction is pending a liquor license," Hendricks said. "It has been a wonderful experience [owning Jersey's], and I've enjoyed working with the community."
Wilson said after speaking to Hendricks about a buy a few times, the two struck a deal.
"We found a happy medium," he said.
Hendricks said he is proud to have built the restaurant side of the bar, as food sales have been on the rise since he started.
"We built the food part of the business to 60 percent of sales, and that's up from 17 percent," he said. "We also created the non-smoking room, which I think helped."
Hendricks said that success should play well for the new owners' plan to get more families out to eat.
"I think in the future, they will make it more family-oriented and offer more food," he said. "I just want to thank everybody, and I appreciate all the people in the community and the support I've had over the past 10 years."
Wilson said the menu will likely change and expand, and the non-smoking room will stay in place.
"I don't think [we'll make it totally non-smoking]," he said. "There's the non-smoking room out front for families, and that does pretty well. I take my family in there all the time. A lot of people don't realize we have that non-smoking area."
Wilson said it is his and Gately's first time owning a restaurant, and he's excited to get things going.
"I expect us to do well at it," he said. "We have a lot of drive, so failure is not an option. That family-friendly type setting is what we want, especially during lunch and dinner time. We also plan to do more advertising to get some people in who didn't know it was there."
Hendricks said the restaurant has six full-time employees. He declined to disclose price details of the sale.
Hours for Jersey's are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Wilson said he plans to stick to the hours, even if business is slow.