Friday, May 22, 2015

Dad's BBQ owners eye June 1 opening

The new owners of what was Bubba’s on First Street are actually the people who have owned the property all along, Sid Fugate and his daughter, Jeni Baker. Remodeling at the moment, they are hoping to have the restaurant open June 1 as Dad’s.

Baker confirmed that they and the owners of Bubba’s, Brian and Casey Miller, couldn’t agree about a lease, which led to the restaurant closing at the end of April. She said the Millers’ wanted a lease reduction that she and her father couldn’t accept. Without going into details, she said there have been other issues, and they could end up in small claims court.

The cleanup since the restaurant closed has been extensive. “There was an inch-and-a-half of grease on the floor outside the kitchen,” she said. “It took us four days to clean up.”

Once open, they are hopeful about getting some of the old clientele back. Tom Murdock will be coming back as cook. They are hiring wait staff now and are around all day to accept resumes and applications.

Here’s some history for those of you who are interested. The log building was originally the Rib Cage. Bubba’s, an institution in Jackson, Wyo., first opened an Idaho Falls restaurant on 17th Street, then moved to First Street in 1998.

Jim “Bubba” Shivler has nothing to do with the Bubba’s in Jackson and hasn’t for years, but will remain a legend if only for running a place where the manager ticked off Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife at the time, Maria Shriver.

In a story that went viral before anyone was using the term "viral," Manager Linda Heibel told the Jackson Hole News the pair showed up at the restaurant on a busy summer evening. Shriver approached Heibel, introduced herself and asked for a table. Heibel, thrilled to meet the two, said she would put their names on the list and call them when their table was ready.

“‘You don’t understand – we don’t stand in line,’” Shriver reportedly said.

“‘You don’t understand,’” Heibel told Shriver. “‘When Bubba’s here, he waits in line. When his folks are here, they wait in line. He would probably fire me if I seated you like that.’” The two left in a huff and had harsh words for Bubba’s at the airport when their vacation ended.