American Falls bar featured in Wall Street Journal

May 4, 2019

AMERICAN FALLS — Shooter’s Tavern has only been open a few months, but it’s already making a name for itself.

The American Falls bar on Idaho Street was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for its unconventional approach to the traditional Easter egg hunt.

Jesse Johnston, the owner of Shooter’s Tavern, said he participated in an Easter egg hunt at Boise State University several years ago in which the eggs were filled with Jello shots. It gave him the idea to do the same at his new bar, which caught the attention of the Wall Street Journal.

On Easter Sunday, Shooter’s Tavern held its “Adult Easter Egg Hunt” with 300 Jello shot filled eggs and 10 golden eggs with prizes ranging from a free game of pool to $100 in cash. Participants paid a $5 buy-in.

The hunt is briefly mentioned in a Wall Street Journalarticle that ran April 19 and also highlighted a hunt in Las Vegas where eggs were filled with coupons for marijuana dispensaries and a St. Louis hunt that has drawn thousands of participants over the years.

Johnston said when a reporter for the national newspaper first reached out to him, he was initially skeptical

“My initial contact from them was a message on my Facebook page,” he said. “I didn’t really believe him at first. I thought, ‘Why’s this guy from the Wall Street Journal contacting me?’”

But after discovering that it was, in fact, a real inquiry, Johnston said he was delighted that his bar was already achieving national attention after being open for just two months.

“I think it will be good for the business, but I also think it’s good for the community,” he said. “It’s just a small excerpt in the paper, but I don’t really care as much to see my own name or the business’s name in there as much as I do to see the town. That’s what excited me the most.”

Johnston said the egg hunt went over well, though there were some concerns with how much alcohol he could put in the eggs and how many eggs he could allow any one person to collect.

“We had to set out some ground rules,” he said. “But for the regular eggs, we put them in fairly obvious locations so we didn’t have to worry about people breaking things.”

He added that the Jello shot egg hunt is something he hopes to continue in the future. He is also working on purchasing land next to the bar, so next year part of the hunt could even be outside.

And Easter isn’t the only holiday Shooter’s Tavern will be celebrating in style. Johnston said his dream for the bar is to host events and activities frequently.

“I’m just trying to come up with new things to fill different days of the week,” he said. “We’re trying to bring on a summer dart league. We’re trying to do a bunch of different things. We’re always going to have something going on out here.”

Between that and the notoriety from the Wall Street Journal article, Johnston said he believes the future of the bar to be bright, even though it’s somewhat out of the way.

“We’ve only been open a couple of months, but I just kind of hit the ground running,” he said, adding that he has even received a lot of business from Pocatello and other surrounding areas.

“I think sometimes people kind of want to get away. That’s why they go to places like Lava (Hot Springs). Maybe they want to spend time on a weekend or something a little ways from home.”