John Bruns wanted to own something more than just a bar. So the Havelock business owner decided to open Kegs Wings and Things on West Main Street in Havelock.
“I wanted to transition from being just a bar owner into something more,” Bruns said Monday on just his sixth day in business. “That’s the biggest reason.”
He said he wanted a place for families that offered food and entertainment, and where a beer wouldn’t cost $4 or $5.
Plus, he wanted to highlight local beers. Kegs has four offerings from Beer Army in Trenton among its local microbrews, and has others from Aviator, Natty Green and Outer Banks.
“The different brew masters in the area really do a good job, and I wanted to have a place where we could have their beer,” Bruns said.
And when food was added to the mix, Kegs Wings and Things was born.
“We just decided we wanted a place where you could watch a football game or a NASCAR race,” Bruns said. “We wanted a place where you could get some wings, or burgers or chicken sandwiches or salads — like pub food. And we wanted a place where you didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg. That’s how it all came about. It was just me and my wife and a couple of friends sitting around brain-storming, and it was like ‘bam,’ and this is what we came up with.”
Bruns said the response to the restaurant’s opening has been good, including Friday night when the restaurant sold out of its six varieties of chicken wings right at closing time.
“There were a lot of people in here,” Bruns said. “I think part of that was the excitement of people hearing about it and wanting to know what it is. We had some young Marines and their wives and girlfriends back here playing pool, and when they started smelling the food in the kitchen, they finally figured it out, and it was on. They started calling their friends left and right.”
He said the wings are jumbo-sized and are cooked such that extra sauce is not needed.
“I don’t want them saturated and soaking in a soup bowl,” he said. “When we get them out of the fryer, we put them in a sauce pan and sauté them in the sauce, so the sauce or glaze is seared into the wings.”
The restaurant offers seasoned or sweet potato fries, onion rings, tater tots, and chips as side items and serves eight varieties of Angus steak hamburgers.
“It’s two different kinds of steak that are chopped up, and they come to us fresh, not frozen,” Bruns said. “It works out real good.”
Kegs has eight televisions, five of which are over the bar, three pool tables, two dart boards and a juke box. The theme — from the interior decorations to the music and even the cowboy hats, boots, and jean shorts worn by the waitresses — is country.
“We’re not catering to my crowd, which is the biker crowd, and we’re not catering to the kids and the hard rock,” Bruns said. “We’re going to stay as country as we can.”
He said the uniforms of the waitresses were inspired by the character Daisy Duke from the 1980s television show “The Dukes of Hazard.”
“That’s my wife’s thing,” Bruns said. “We got the wait staff together and asked them what they would like to wear. We were looking at blue jeans and sweatshirts, and the girls said, ‘no, we want to wear this.’”
Bruns said the restaurant will offer live music on the weekends, with the top 40 country music band Crossroads scheduled to perform Saturday night.
Bruns employs 25 people at the restaurant, including manager John Morgan and Shawn Mitchell, who is in charge of booking the entertainment.
“They will try to bring in the best entertainment that we can have,” he said. “And if I can find a couple of pretty good comedians, we may try to bring them in and do a comedy night.”
The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. It is located at 403 West Main St., just down from Goody’s in the old Cadence restaurant building. The phone number is 447-4007.
“It’s pretty well balanced as far as a little bit of fun and a little bit of excitement,” Bruns said. “We’ve got TVs, music, good food, good people and good times.”