MOUNT GILEAD — It was a packed house at End Zone Bar and Grill in Mount Gilead Dec. 28 when fans came in to watch the OSU vs. Clemson semi-final football game.
End Zone owner Joe Long estimated that there were more than 100 in both rooms and most stayed to enjoy a meal or appetizers while they watched the game.
“We’re getting to be known as the place to watch Buckeye football games,” Long said.
Throughout the evening a resounding chorus of OH-IO rang out with every good Buckeye play and score.
Long and the waitresses gave every table free raffle tickets and during half time more than 20 diners received give-a-ways for OSU and End Zone memorabilia and T-shirts.
Jan Strait came with her sister, sons and grandchildren. She said she felt pretty nervous at halftime with the momentum of the game going to Clemson even though OSU had a 16-14 lead. She enjoys watching the game with family and friends.
“We want this to be a place where family and young people can come,” Long said. “We are family-oriented and big on helping youth and I’m a youth football coach for Mount Gilead.”
Long said he had been in construction work and other jobs where he traveled quite a bit. He’s glad to be able to work close to home and stay close to the community.
Throughout the evening, families and couples enjoyed burgers, wings, tacos, “Grand Slamwiches,” subs and wraps along with soups and salads. The End Zone is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with breakfast served all day on Saturday and Sunday.
The End Zone opened last Valentine’s Day and the look of the restaurant has changed with more than two dozen TVs and a new bar in the large, north side room.
“Owning the End Zone has been neat, scary and overwhelming at first,” Long said. “We were bombarded at first with customers who saw that we were something new and exciting.”
In the past 10 months Long and his wife Sarah are happy that they have built a base of regular customers.
Waitress Lynsey Pryor said they are usually quite busy on weekends. She likes the friendliness of the End Zone and her boss as well as getting to know everyone and what they like to eat.
One of the new projects this fall is the “Athlete of the Week” award for Morrow County high schools. The End Zone Face Book followers can nominate an athlete from their school and then Face Book followers are polled. The winners get a free dinner at the restaurant, their picture on the athlete’s wall and their name on the sign outside.
Special theme nights are: Monday 75 cent Wings night, Tuesday Trivia night, Wednesday kids eat free from kids menu, Thursday is Trivia theme, Friday Karaoke and bands night, and Saturday bands or game night are popular. They also look forward to game nights for playoffs, Super Bowl and other sports.
“We want it to feel like family and staff call it the End Zone family,” Long said.