Green River Star -

By Lillian Palmer
Staff Writer 

Hitching Post Restaurant opens saloon

 

Lillian Palmer

Jeff Stout sits at the bar of his Hitching Post Restaurant Tuesday afternoon. The restaurant opened its saloon on New Year's Eve.

A step through the saloon door exposes seven months of hard, labor intensive work taken on by The Hitching Post restaurant and saloon owner, Jeff Stout and two of his friends.

"It was a very bold and ambitious project for three people to take on," Stout said. "I'm happy with the outcome. To see it come to fruition is pretty cool."

The Hitching Post Saloon, at 580 E. Flaming Gorge Way, opened its doors to the public on New Year's Eve. It's been a goal of Stout's to remodel the building, the restaurant and bar, ever since he bought the building in 2007. The restaurant remodel finished in April of 2015. Now his extensive bar remodel is as well. He said there are still some finishing touches that will be added to the bar, but it has come together nicely. The bar has become a culmination of elements gathered from Sweetwater County. The bar is as much his as it is the community's.

"Everything is old, but everything represents Sweetwater County," Hitching Post Saloon manager Kelli Lennon said. "It represents the industry and agriculture of Sweetwater County."

Buckaroos family restaurant is now a distant memory. The Hitching Post Saloon is in the same location, same building, but the inside is now unrecognizable.

Everything in his bar now is either new or refurbished. Stout has implemented historical objects from around town, the county and the state into his bar to make it the community piece that it has already become. Many of the items featured in the saloon were donated from friends and patrons.

The bar counter top itself is a bowling lane from the old bowling alley in Green River, Sweetwater Lanes. The giant conveyer chains acting as posts for the pendant lights hanging above the bar top came from one of the local mines. The giant painted wood flag above the bar on the back wall came from a barn wall in Jamestown. The green and red wood planks circling the interior of the saloon also came from Jamestown, recycled from an old fence. The wooden stair treds leading to the saloon's second level were refurbished from the two by six wood planks that were built into the loft of the building when it was Routh's Brothers Motors car dealership in the 1920s.

"To keep the history here, we just reused the wood," Stout said.

Much local history is already being preserved in the saloon. Light fixtures hanging from the saloon ceiling were once hanging in the old Union Pacific office building in Rock Springs, which is now Coyote Creek Steak House. Other elements from the railroad are also incorporated into the saloon, including old railroad steaks which now adorn the stairway, welded on. An old piece of railroad track is now used as the stairs' hand rail.

Pieces of local history are speckled throughout the saloon making it a glimpse into the past of Sweetwater County. Stout's saloon, he hopes will be a comfortable, social place to gather with friends, with a clean, friendly, warm atmosphere.

"And for tourists to see what Sweetwater County has," Lennon said.

"We sure hope it would become a tourist stopping point," Stout said.

 

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