Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill concept (named after the country crooner's 2003 hit) won't be opening as soon as they hoped in San Diego, but the down-home dance hall is still coming. The honky-tonk spot will join San Diego's growing country bar contingent, which includes the soon-to-open Moonshine Flats and Coyote Ugly.
The gigantic guitar-shaped restaurant was slated to go inside the T.R. Produce building across from Petco Park in a deal that was taking months to close last year. Now, the a tech tenant is headed to the space at 8th and J instead. The complicated three-part transaction involved a sublease with Walmart and was too difficult to pull off; the bar also backed out because timing wasn't great. The concept is on a growth tear, currently opening five other locales in the U.S.
Now the square dancing venue is back to square one in San Diego, limiting its search to downtown. The bar is on the prowl for about 20,000 to 30,000 square feet, and the plan is to open as soon as this year. Tony Villasenor of Sierra US is charged with helping the bar find its local home.
Existing I Love This Bar locations are packed with cowgirl servers, country music videos on TVs, and live country bands a few nights a week. Need liquid courage to side step? Southern Comfort and Jack Daniels flow like water at their 17-plus locations across the country (the first opened in 2005 in Keith's home state of Oklahoma). We hear the singer makes surprise pit stops each year, and gift shops are packed with rare memorabilia (think tour clothes and platinum records).
The traditional southern American menu includes gigantic plates of ribs, chicken wings, and fried bologna sandwiches on Texas toast, with sides like mashed sweet potatoes, creamed corn, mac and cheese, and fried okra dusted with cornmeal.
· I Love This Bar & Grill [Official Site]
· All Coming Attractions on Eater [~ESD~]