By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Porter’s Pub is changing hands – not to mention names and style – again.
The longtime bar is expected to reopen late next month as Full Monty’s Bistro. There will be a public hearing on a liquor license application for the new business at the July 6 Keizer City Council meeting.
The change is the latest in a line of them. Don Porter opened Porter’s Pub at 4820 River Road North in 1993 before passing away in May 2005. His daughter owned it next. After another owner took over, David Thomas bought the establishment in July 2012.
Denny and Lisa Graue bought the bar last spring and reopened it in May 2014, changing it into a sports bar and renaming it The Pub.
By February, the Graues were looking for a buyer.
Lance Case, who will serve as district manager for the new owners, said the new owners closed the transaction on June 15 and closed The Pub last Friday, June 19.
“Our hope is to be open late July,” Case told the Keizertimes on Monday.
Case said the idea is for the Keizer location to be the first of a series of Full Monty’s restaurants, hence his district manager position.
“This is our first in this area,” said Case, who noted all three men involved have extensive restaurant experience. “This will be the start of the Full Monty concept. We’ll grow and learn our mistakes from this one. Our concept is a pub with fresh ground sirloin burgers, appetizers, salads and a full bar with 24 taps. The beers will change with the season and we’ll have local brews.”
Case said a key part of the concept is making Full Monty’s family friendly.
“It will be kids friendly from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with a kids menu,” Case said. “It’s a segment we want to serve.”
The plan, according to Case, is to eventually be open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. each day, which means having a staff of least 20 employees (up from four) by opening day.
While reaching the entire family, Case noted there will also be full lottery and a pub atmosphere for adults after 9 p.m.
“It will be a bistro pub, with an emphasis on the food,” he said.
Fred Martin, one of the employees for the Graues, will be continuing with the new ownership.
“I’m super excited,” Martin said. “It sounds like an awesome concept and a great opportunity.”
Case has visions of being highly visible in Keizer.
“We want to outreach and be involved in local schools and sports organizations,” he said. “We want to really become part of the community and to be a benefit to the community. We’re excited to be a part of the community.”
Case said his group was looking to open outside of the Portland area a few months ago and came across The Pub in February when it was for sale.
“This was one of many locations we looked at along River Road,” Case said. “This is an excellent location, with residential and business around. The proximity to both and to I-5 were big factors. We also didn’t have to build this into a restaurant or build from the ground up.”
Denny Graue confirmed on Tuesday he had sold The Pub after having it for sale about four months.
“The support wasn’t that great,” said Graue, who had turned the business into a sports bar. “We were losing money. We found an opportunity in Silverton with Towne House Restaurant and Lounge. The place is very well established, with a good reputation in town.”
After making such a big change at The Pub, including the addition of a number of TVs, Graue admitted he was hoping for more success.
“It was disappointing, but if the business isn’t thriving there’s no use in keeping going,” he said. “There are so many bars along River Road, the city can only support so much. The reputation of the place after Don Porter passed got worse and worse. We were trying to fix the mistakes of everyone that came after him.”