Yeeha’s celebrates first-year anniversary, new imageWritten by Tim Soster | | email@example.com
Robert Johnson, owner of Yeeha’s Buckin’ Bar and Grill, has spent the past year changing the public’s perception of his establishment.
Yeeha’s, located at 3150 Navarre Ave. in Oregon, was formerly Rodeo Bar and Grill.
It was the bar that Michael Gagnon left on Dec. 30 2007 and drove on the wrong side of Interstate 280, killing five people.
“The first couple of months we were open, we had to dispel a lot of the rumors,” Johnson said. “It was tough to open again after what happened to Rodeo’s.”
Johnson bought the bar in July 2008, but didn’t open until October. He wanted to refresh the place and make sure people understood it was being run differently.
The first step was a name change. He kept the same country and western theme, although added some authentic décor from his family in Kentucky.
One important change he implemented was a courtesy shuttle. The shuttle takes people home and even picks them up. He said Yeeha’s is the first bar in the city to offer a free shuttle service.
“We really want to stress the ‘no drinking and driving,’” he said.
Johnson said people waiting for a cab will often resort to driving. He wants to keep his customers from making a bad decision.
Yeeha’s is not just a bar, Johnson said, and he welcomes families. He has made changes to the menu, adding five different steaks, and seafood, like shrimp and Lake Erie perch.
The kitchen opens daily at 11 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m. The restaurant also serves typical bar food like chicken chunks, chili dogs and sandwiches.
“Our food is excellent,” Johnson said. “I’m not just saying that because it’s my restaurant.”
Tucked into a corner of the bar is a stage. Every Friday and Saturday night, live music and a disc jockey provide live entertainment. Most of the bands play rock, country or southern rock.
Johnson has also upgraded the televisions in the bar to HDTV to keep the customers happy.
He said football season is coming up and the televisions are finally set up correctly. Before, some of them could not be tuned individually, which was frustrating. Now, any TV can be tuned to what the patron wants to watch, including any game because he purchased the sports package.
When Yeeha’s opened, football season was almost over, but he still hosted an OSU versus Michigan party and later a Super Bowl party, a tradition he wants to continue.
“We are hoping to do some stuff with ESPN Radio,” he said.
Another addition to Yeeha’s was more security. Johnson said a few hundred people might show up on a Friday or Saturday night and the added security makes the patrons feel more secure.
Johnson hopes his efforts bring people to Yeeha’s.
“We have a really laid-back atmosphere here; it’s less rowdy,” Johnson said. “There are pretty good people that come in here. It’s a nice crowd.”