The Rib Crib signed an agreement Dec. 21 to lease the space formerly occupied by Sammy’s Last Cast Tavern and the Evergreen Sports Grill in the Tanoa Marketplace Center at Stagecoach Boulevard and Evergreen Parkway.
The new restaurant will open in March under the name Stagecoach Sports Grill, assuming the owners succeed in obtaining a liquor license.
The location seats about 150 people and has 1,000 square feet more space than the Rib Crib, said longtime co-owner Troy Tyus. He plans to use the new space to bring in live music on a regular basis.
“I’m real excited about it,” Tyus said. “The big thing is, it’s going to be something new. We always had a great reputation for the food, but our location has been a little quirky. I think this is going to provide an opportunity to have a better location.”
Longtime Evergreen resident Laura Hicks Cowles is also an investor in the restaurant. A retired schoolteacher, Cowles said she wanted to help the community by saving local jobs and a friendly place to go.
The move saves the jobs of about 18 Rib Crib employees who are expected to transfer to the new location. They will be able to collect unemployment benefits in the meantime, Tyus said.
The new Stagecoach Sports Grill will have a Western-style sports-bar theme with the same barbecue the Rib Crib is famous for, plus steak, steak sandwiches and other items.
Phil Winnicki of Evergreen has joined Tyus as a partner, manager and co-owner in the business. “It has been a lifetime dream to be part-owner of a restaurant and bar. This would be the first job that is heart-related and not just to make a living,” said Winnicki, 46, who works in operations for a hydraulics and pneumatics company.
Winnicki moved to Evergreen from Detroit three years ago and started hanging out at the Rib Crib, where he met Tyus and nearly everyone else in town.
“I’ve always wanted to live in a place in the mountains like Evergreen,” Tyus said. “It’s exactly where I’ve always wanted to be.”
The last day at the Rib Crib was Dec. 27. The restaurant has been known as the Rib Crib since 1988, when it was started by Mike Katich. From about 1973 to the mid-‘80s, it was My Friends Restaurant, and the My Friends logo still is on the bar top.