No fooling, April 1 marked the official re-opening of the Big Bear Lodge. But staff members have been serving burgers, fries, shrimp, salads and halibut to patrons since March 16.
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Grand opening planned for June 1
by Samantha White
Located at 171 Hines Logging Road in Hines, The Big Bear Lodge is owned and operated by Forrest and Jen Keady, and Jen Keady’s parents, Roger and Pam Glerup.
“Business is going good. It’s been really busy,” Forrest said.
“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s a big part of our family,” Jen said regarding the lodge.
“Everybody had a hand in it,” Forrest agreed, explaining that Jen’s sister designed the Big Bear logo.
Jen said the restaurant was built and originally opened by her parents. She said she and her husband later began operating the business, but decided to close it in order to focus on raising their three young sons (Travis, Jake and Will).
“But now we’re back, and the boys are on the workforce and can be involved,” Jen said.
When asked what was special or unique about the Big Bear, Forrest replied “the building.”
“Mom and Dad built this building piece-by-piece,” Jen added.
Reminiscent of a lodge or log cabin, the building’s rustic architecture features artful woodworking and stonemasonry, and the walls are decorated with memorabilia commemorating the community’s tie to the lumber industry.
“People enjoy the atmosphere. They like to be here,” Pam said.
Jen said that, in an effort to “add to the atmosphere and fun,” a large outdoor fire pit will be installed.
The lodge also features a dance floor, pool tables and a bar.
“We do growlers,” Forrest added, explaining that customers can fill 64- or 32-ounce containers with one of six microbrews on tap.
Containers can be purchased at the Big Bear, or customers can bring their own. Beers on tap will be rotated constantly, giving customers an opportunity to try a wide variety of microbrews.
Customers interested in trying all six of the beers currently on tap can purchase a sampler tray. The trays are handmade by Roger.
Jen said the Big Bear also serves “really awesome cheeseburgers.”
“Our best is the Big Bear Cheeseburger,” she said, explaining that it is served on a pizza tray with a knife stuck through the middle of it. The Big Bear Cheeseburger also comes surrounded by hand-cut fries.
“The halibut fish and chips is really popular,” Forrest said. He added, “We have people who come up just for fries and dessert.”
In addition to menu items, the Big Bear offers rotating specials, which could be entrees or appetizers.
On Fridays, Big Bear hosts a horseshoe tournament. Registration begins at 6 p.m., and the tournament begins at 6:30 p.m. Half of the entry fee is given to the winner, and the other half is donated to a local charity that is chosen by the winner.
Jason Radinovich won the debut tournament, and he chose CAN Cancer, an organization that provides community assistance to cover non-medical living expenses for patients fighting all forms of cancer, to receive the donation.
The lodge is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to close. Jen said the lodge does not have a set closing time.
“When nobody is here, we close,” she explained.
The lodge can also be reserved for parties or special occasions. Customers can rent the whole building or just reserve the Log Yard Room.
A grand opening celebration will be held Saturday night, June 1, and the event will feature music played by a disc jockey.