Bruce’s Bar scheduled to re-open in September
July 22, 2008
By Sherrie Peif
To some, the name of the new owner may be a coincidence, to others it’s fate. But to thousands of faithful customers for more than 50 years, only one thing is clear.
In a little more than a month, Bruce’s Bar will open again in Severance.
Although this time, instead of Bruce Ruth, it’s Bruce Carron’s name on the business license. But all that matters is those Rocky Mountain Oysters that put Severance on the world map will be back by September.
“We’re not going to make any major changes to the menu,” Carron, 48, of Berthoud said. “The only thing we’re taking off is lobster, and we may add a little bit of Mexican food, but everything else will remain the same.”
Recommended Stories For You
That includes those oysters, which are made from bull testicles.
Carron wanted to make sure that one menu item didn’t change, so he hired Dennis Guffy, the head cook who did all the buying, battering and breading of the oysters for more than 30 years before Bruce’s closed 18-months ago to focus on nothing but buying, battering and breading again.
“He will be our Rocky Mountain Oyster preparer,” said Carron, who added Guffy’s excitement brings him in every day just to help sweep. “We’re buying them from the same place. And we’re using the same recipe, so they will be exactly the same.”
The all-you-can-eat special will also return, Carron said.
Bruce’s Bar, which opened in 1955 at the intersection of Weld County roads 23 and 74 in Severance, closed down abruptly in February 2007 after owners were unable to secure a liquor license.
The original owner Ruth, died in 2006, and when longtime employees Guffy and Linda Winter went to transfer the license, the Severance Town Board, which also acts as the liquor licensing agent for the town, said the building would need to be brought up to code before they would license it.
But the condition of the building was too severe for Ruth’s son, Steve Ruth, to justify the cost of repair, so he shut it down, leaving a 52-year establishment that had been featured on television and in magazines worldwide in the dark.
One year later in February 2008, Jairo Landeros of Berthoud, purchased the building, and his good friend Carron took on the challenge.
“We’re still in the process,” Carron said. “It was quite an extensive remodel.”
Carron, who owns CCH Builders, said most of the roof needed replaced; exterior walls were re-engineered; the heating and air conditioning systems were replaced; the Formica bar top was replaced with oak; the kitchen was gutted, and all new equipment was installed; a bar at the south end of the building that came from the Kersey Inn was removed to make the dance floor bigger; and the town required Carron put windows in the front of the building along Weld 23. Although the building was remodeled, most of the arrangement and decor on the inside remains the same. The restaurant will seat approximately 200 people, Carron said. Parking along the west side of Weld 23 has also been removed by an order from the Town.
Carron’s desire to reopen the bar didn’t come completely out of the blue, however. His wife, Cherie Carron, is Winter’s niece. And patrons can expect to see Winter back, too.
“She’s going to be here helping,” Carron said. “She’s pretty much retired, but she wants to come back and help. She’ll be giving us some advice.”
The Severance Town Board approved Carron’s liquor license Monday at its regular meeting. And the state should have the license back to Carron within a couple of weeks. Carron is aiming for a Labor Day opening.
His two oldest boys, Will, 23, who is currently seeking a degree in restaurant management from Colorado State University, and Kyle, 21, will be doing most of the day-to-day management. A third son, Tyler, 19, will join his family after he graduates from Front Range Community College in Fort Collins.
But it’s the residents who are the most anxious.
Gerry Genz, a 43-year resident of Severance who managed Bruce’s in the 1960s, wandered into the bar, Monday, to see what was happening.
“I’m one of the old girls,” she said with a laugh. “This is awesome. I’ve been keeping up on it through Dennis, but this is the first time I’ve been in. I’m so glad for them.”
Carron said about 10 people a day come in to get regular updates on the bar’s progress.
“This is very, very big,” Genz said. “Very big, this is all there was in Severance forever. I came in with my grandparents when Bruce’s first opened. It was just a congregating place for all the farmers during the day. Everybody’s just so tickled.”