Goonie’s relocating to Scottsbluff location, highlighting food like its award-winning burger
GERING — Goonie’s Sports Bar and Grill, recognized in 2015 with the state’s Best Burger Award, is moving north of the river.
Promoting the business as Goonie’s Family Sports Restaurant, owner Paul Guhn will open next month in the former Whiskey Creek Steakhouse building at East 20th Place in Scottsbluff.
Guhn started his local business in 2013 in Terrytown as Goonie’s Kozy Keno Bar and Grill. But after he won the best burger in Nebraska at the state fair in 2015, people from around the state were coming to Terrytown to try his award-winning Goonie Burger, he says.
It also meant he needed more space. So in April 2016, Guhn moved his restaurant to the old Oregon Trail Lounge building on M Street in east Gering with its 7,800 square feet of interior space.
Since the Oregon Trail Lounge opened in 1973, it was known as a night club and music establishment. Many well-known regional bands have played there.
“We really want to concentrate on our food,” Guhn said. “You need to have the entertainment side operating to pay for the overhead. We tried bringing in some bands, but our thing is food, not the night life. The building is just too big for what we do.”
Guhn said he still loves Gering, where he lives, and the M Street restaurant. But it’s not in a prime spot as far as traffic goes.
“In Scottsbluff, there are five hotels, car lots, the sugar factory and the college all nearby,” he said. “We really want to hit that lunch crowd.”
He said about 70 percent of Gering residents work in Scottsbluff, so that’s where the traffic is, which is especially important in the food business.
“We specialize in burgers, Philly cheesesteaks and wings,” he said. “We’re now in the top 20 places in the entire state for wings. And we’re the only sports bar that does five different Philly sandwiches.”
The new location also features a much larger kitchen, so Guhn’s wife, Lisa, plans to bottle the restaurant’s special sauces and jalapeno jelly for sale onsite.
Another feature in the kitchen is a smoker and Guhn plans to add pulled pork, brisket, smoked ribs and sausages to the menu.
“We want to expand our menu a bit, but we’re going to remain a family-friendly sports restaurant,” he said. “The bar will still be open with plenty of televisions for all the games that are on.”
Guhn said he’s helping the owners of the Gering building to find a new tenant for the space. He’s heard a few whispers that someone is interested in turning it back into a country bar and event center.
He stressed that the new location will be family oriented.
“I have my sixth grandchild coming so I want people to know we’re geared toward families. We’ll be a sports restaurant with a bar inside it.”
Goonie’s Gering location will remain open until the new Scottsbluff restaurant is ready to launch, which should be in early September. When it does, keno will still be available.
“I want to be open before the big Husker games get started,” Guhn said. “We’re looking forward to an exciting season with a new coach.”