Long-renowned Prairie Bar and Grill changes owners

Posted

The Prairie Bar and Grill in Brush Prairie, which has been a local staple for the past 45 years, has new owners and a new name.

Shawna and Dan Risner, the new owners, will reopen the bar at the end of January under the new name PT, which stands for Prairie Tavern. 

“Dan and I owned businesses in the past in other industries,” Shawna Risner said. “Wineries, coffee shops, and things of that nature just didn’t feel right. We’ve been friends with the Steigman family for years. Both of our kids learned to swim in Ron’s pool, and my husband was neighbors with Kelly (Steigman) for 17 years.”

Shawna Risner said she was direct in her approach when she proposed buying the bar from Ron Steigman and his family.  

“I blurted it out at Barrel Mountain to Troy (Steigman), who runs it and will continue to run it,” she said. “We were eating out on the back patio, we sat down at a picnic table, and I said ‘hey … do you think Dad would ever consider selling the bar and he said ‘yes, absolutely. Let me go home and talk to him about it.’”

The Risners received a positive answer the next day, which was in either March or April. 

Although this is her first time owning a restaurant, Shawna Risner said the principles she learned at the Oregon Auto Dealers Association as its director of logistics are applicable to the new business. Her customer service skills and her knowledge of dealing with suppliers and unexpected issues will help aid her in the new venture. Shawna Risner left that job to focus on the restaurant full-time. 

“That was a big transition for me,” Shawna Risner said. 

Her husband, Dan, has worked in construction, which Shawna Risner said has been a big help in getting the bar renovated. 

The change of the business’ name aims to appeal to the residents of Brush Prairie. 

“PT is what the regulars, the locals, and everybody else that knows Prairie has called it for years, so it’s sort of an homage to keeping that nostalgia,” Shawna Risner said.



She said the business will call itself Prairie Tavern in its marketing efforts so people who aren’t familiar with PT can get acquainted with it.  

Aesthetically, the Risners are putting in new furniture, which will arrive in a semi-truck the week before Christmas. The new furniture will provide a mix of high-top bar seating, and will take advantage of the space in the back room where the stage is located. The stage will be removed and repositioned toward the bar area. 

Shawna Risner said she sought out local musicians to ask for their input and they agreed it was a good decision. Garage door-style windows will also be added to the side of the building.

One of the biggest changes will be the removal of ceiling tiles which contain many signatures from locals and nearby sports teams. The bar will have a digital photo gallery of all 196 tiles, and the physical tiles will be given to people who request them. If multiple people ask for the same tile, Shawna Risner plans to have a copy of it printed on a canvas that can be distributed to people who want it. The ceiling tiles that are not claimed will be stored in a shop the Risners recently built. The Steigman family will also take home a number of the unclaimed tiles.

Ron Steigman said he is confident the new proprietors are the right fit for the bar. 

“It’s been a big part of my life for 38 years and I’m kind of an industrious guy,” Steigman said.  “I like to putter and all this stuff, so I’ve always had projects and never had to be bored.”

Because of ongoing renovations, the Risners aim to reopen the bar at the end of January, but the date is still a “moving target” and depends on when they receive approval from the county and the fire marshal. 

The final opening date will be announced at a later time.



Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here