The Yellowstone Garage is reinventing itself again.
The downtown business started out decades ago as an auto shop, but current owner John Huff purchased the building in 2004 and eventually turned the structure into an event venue.
The establishment is now transforming into a restaurant and bar, which is expected to open next week, according to general manager Gerijo Brierley.
Brierley said the menu will include traditional American dining options, like cheeseburgers and sandwiches, and the bar will offer a variety of specialty cocktails.
“[It will be] an upscale twist on home cooking,” she explained.
To pay tribute to the building’s history, the manager said the décor will feature a variety of old car relics and antiques. They plan to hire about 50 people to work in the restaurant and bar.
An exact opening date has not been set, but Brierley encouraged anyone interested to check the business’s website for updates. She added that the Garage will still continue to host some events, just on a smaller scale.
The Yellowstone Garage is the latest in a string of new businesses that have been popping up in Casper’s core since the city started planning the David Street Station, a downtown plaza that opened last month.
Racca’s Pizzeria Napoletana, Urban Bottle and The Gaslight Social bar have all opened within the last year.
City officials, who have spent years working to develop the downtown area, intended for the plaza to have this effect and hoped it would create a more vibrant city center.
Some council members and business owners have expressed concern that Casper’s population is not large enough to support the influx of new drinking and dining establishments, but Gilda Lara, the executive director for the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce, previously told the Star-Tribune that the chamber thinks the additions will encourage residents to visit the downtown area more frequently.
More residents being out on the town will be beneficial for new businesses and old ones, she explained.
“That’s what we’re hoping for,” she said at the time.
Huff was able to open the bar because City Council awarded him a $1,500 full liquor license on July 27, 2016.
State statue caps the number of full liquor licenses municipalities can issue based on population, but an increase in residents left Casper with one additional license to give out last year.
Huff beat out five other applicants for the coveted license, which can change hands on the private market for upwards of $300,000.
The entrepreneur said at the time that he expected the bar would be at least partially opened within a couple of months, but Brierley explained that opening up the new business turned out to be more complicated than they initially expected.
“We don’t want to have a meat market kind of bar,” Huff told Council when he received the license. “I want this to be a destination for people who, maybe they want to have a drink and let their kids play out front and enjoy the music.”