BELLA VISTA -- It was a no-brainer, Beth Bengs said about the location of the new restaurant, Shredders Public House.
Bengs' brother-in-law, John Jensen, had always wanted to open a concept restaurant. Their family runs Taco Casa in Rogers. Although they both live in Bella Vista, they were looking in other areas until they saw the old American Legion building on U.S. 71B and thought it was a great location.
Renovations have taken both time and money but the business opened Wednesday, and Bengs said they were ready.
The staff of 45 was hired, and a local band, Rocking Roads, was booked for the grand opening weekend.
"It was the smallest kitchen I've ever seen," she said about the new location. They took some space away from the stage to add a walk-in cooler and freezer. A wood-fired pizza oven was squeezed in as well.
The former meeting room was turned into the main dining room, with the bar extended so it can serve both rooms. The epoxy top on the bar, which glows in the dark, was poured by local craftsman, Sticky Fingers. The other side of the building, the former dining room, will be a bar with some food service for more intimate dining, she said.
Two custom murals are in place. And several televisions were waiting to be hung during a recent visit before the business was set to open. But the owners were careful to retain as much history as possible including the stone front of the building and a plaque dedicated to prisoners of war, Bengs said.
Jensen brought in a chef from Colorado, Brad Usiak, who brought some great ideas for the menu, Bengs said.
"It's casual with an upscale twist," she said.
Usiak just said it was delicious -- also a "fusion" of styles.
Besides the pizzas, there are sandwiches, salads, a daily soup special and steaks. The bar features more than 20 local craft beers, as well as national brands; handmade cocktails, a "robust" selection of wine and artisan coffee, Bengs said.
Mixologist John Grogan is coming from Bentonville and has a strong following, she said.
Outside, the patio was expanded and seats about 100 people. A small bar will be open outside, and entertainment will be booked for the small outdoor stage. There's also a bike rack in place.
The name, Shredders Public House, is a nod to the mountain biking community, and Bengs said she expects an extension to the Back 40 system to come directly to the new business, but she doesn't plan to limit clientele to cyclists.
"We want everyone from cradle to grave and in between," she said.
They will are open from 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m. and will probably add a Sunday brunch, Bengs said. A Saturday brunch is also under consideration, she said. Entertainment will be in the main dining room on most Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays.