Photo by Max Efrein.
Joe Lohmeier is Willy Wonka and Far from Folsom is his chocolate factory.
For some background, the businessman moved to Prescott from Texas about a year ago and quickly bought up some prime real estate, including the former Brick & Bones Moonshine Bar and Bistro building.
At the time of the purchase, he was under the impression he could open a bar there. However, since the location is within 300 feet of Mile High Middle School’s grounds, Arizona state law prohibits him from acquiring the appropriate liquor license to do so.
When this came to his attention, pondering was in order.
“I literally sat in this building and was like ‘what do I do with this thing,’” Lohmeier said. “Selling would have been the easy thing.”
Rather, he slightly tweaked his grand vision for the space to match the confines of a restaurant liquor license, which requires that 40 percent of its gross revenue comes from the sale of food, and is on his way to creating an establishment unlike any Prescott has ever seen.
“We’re not a bar, we’re not a restaurant, we’re not a music venue; we’re an experience,” Lohmeier said
With money as no object, Lohmeier has heavily invested in remodeling, refurnishing and re-flavoring the entire building and its outside patio.
Dripping from the newly installed barn wood and freshly painted plaster walls are guitars, more Johnny Cash memorabilia than one can reasonably imagine, and other general rock n’ roll related paraphernalia.
Focused on creating a family-friendly environment, Lohmeier has scattered various bar and arcade games throughout the venue, including Skee-Ball, corn hole (bag toss), giant Jenga, pinball and pool.
With hopes of meeting the 40 percent food sale requirement — a potentially challenging feat considering the restaurant has three full bars, will frequently host live music and will remain open late into the evening on most nights — Lohmeier hired on Chef Eric Brown.
Brown has cooked in countries throughout the world and is currently the co-owner of two restaurants on Boracay, a small island in the Philippines.
The menu is still under development with only about eight items at the moment, but Brown said the best way he can describe what he is dishing out at the restaurant is high-end all American comfort food.
“We’re really trying to do things food-wise that not everyone else is doing in town,” Brown said.
For instance, he currently has beef tongue tacos on the menu. This has freaked some people out, he said, until they gave it a taste.
“People think that they’re going to be like biting into their own tongue, but when they try it and it just melts in their mouth because it’s been braised for like 15 hours, then they get it,” Brown said.
Though Lohmeier is not entirely done working on the place, it has been fully open for business since June 30 and has attracted quite a crowd. The grand opening is set for Saturday, July 16.
“When we get done, I think it’s going to blow people’s minds,” Lohmeier said. “Come the 16th, there’s going to be enough new stuff done that I think there will be a real wow factor.”
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