GREENFIELD — Greenfield’s only late-night watering hole is about to get a facelift, one that includes live streaming local Sunday church services and one day opening its doors to the under-21 crowd.
Ro’s Bar & Grill owner Richalle “Ro” Turner announced on Facebook on March 22 she and her husband have sold the bar they’ve owned since 2008. The new owners, Steve and Jenny Menser of Greenfield, will finalize the transaction later this month but plan to take over at Ro’s on or around Easter Sunday. Details of the pending transaction were not disclosed.
Plans for Ro’s, to be rechristened “Snapper’s Bar and Grill,” bring changes from the bar’s look to its potential client base — preserving the foundation the Turner family has created while bringing a fresh set of eyes to the business, the Mensers said.
The Mensers’ purchase of the establishment, 1514 N. State St., comes at a controversial time, with the bar facing a pair of lawsuits filed by two Shelby County men.
The lawsuits were filed by Wayne and Elijah Brown, who were assaulted by two intoxicated customers and say Ro’s is responsible because its wait staff overserved alcohol to the customers involved. It’s an allegation the bar has faced before, with a server recently being convicted of a misdemeanor after a drunken-driving accident killed two people who had just left the bar.
The Mensers will not be forced to shoulder the lawsuits Ro’s is currently facing, Menser said. Those will fall under the bar’s former owners and their insurance carrier, he said.
Menser said he is hopeful the community will give the bar a chance as he and his wife venture into owning their first business.
Menser said they plan to rename Ro’s to “Snapper’s Bar and Grill,” — sporting a cartoon snapping turtle logo — and they hope to develop it into a fun, friendly and safe environment. They are hoping to maintain relationships with Ro’s current patron base while also reaching out to new customers, Menser said.
The Mensers plan to change the aesthetic of the bar, redecorating it into a coastal-style beach theme, Menser said. In terms of food, they aim to keep the most popular items on the menu while adding a few more of their own.
Menser said he eventually wants to create a family-friendly business, keeping the bar open to all ages until after 9 p.m., after which it will be open to adults only.
“I’ve always enjoyed camaraderie among people that a bar can provide,” Menser said. “A friendly neighborhood pub is something I’ve always dreamed of being a part of and running. We just want to have a fun, friendly place for people to come in and have a few drinks, some great food and entertainment, and be safe.”
The family is working closely with the Greenfield Police Department to ensure they run a clean business, said Menser’s wife, Jenny, in a public Facebook post. Law enforcement officers are welcome into their business at any time for free snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, she wrote.
They intend to implement other complimentary services as well, including offering rides home for patrons unfit to drive, Menser said.
The Mensers are members of Park Chapel Christian Church, and they are currently working through the details of hosting a biscuits-and-gravy breakfast at their bar on Sunday mornings while streaming that morning’s sermon via Facebook Live.
“I don’t want people to look at us as a holy-roller bar and grill or anything,” Menser said. “I just want some people to come in and learn a little more about who we are.”
Menser stressed that he and Jenny are good friends with the bar’s former owners, Richie and Ro Turner, and they hope longtime customers of Ro’s will give the bar a chance after changes in management.
“We want people to know that things are changing and changing for the good,” Menser said. “… We want to remake (the bar) as ours.”