JEFFERSONVILLE — A large entertainment venue and restaurant soon will open in downtown Jeffersonville.
After months of construction, work is nearly complete on Union Restaurant & GameYard, a new dining and entertainment complex that will feature a variety of interactive indoor and outdoor games. The business at 115 W. Chestnut Street adjacent to Parlour, consists of a newly-constructed indoor facility, a historic home and an outdoor area.
Bobby Bass, co-owner of Southern Hospitality Group, is partnering with Levi Donaldson to open the restaurant. The construction on Union Restaurant & GameYard has been a little slower than expected due to delays caused by rain and COVID-19, but they hope to open by Labor Day weekend.
Union will offer a “fun, entertaining way to hang out with your friends and family,” Bass said. The space will be family-friendly, and it will offer games such as bocce ball, iceless curling and Futpool. Some games will be available to anyone at the restaurant, but certain games such as curling will need to be booked in advance.
“Between the games coming inside during the cold weather plus our food, I hope that helps sustain us during those colder months,” he said. “We’re adding some heating elements, so I really think we can be operational three seasons out of four [outside].”
The outdoor area offers a bar and outdoor “cabanas” structures for private parties, and a stage will be used for events such as live music, game viewing and gaming competitions. Food, beverage and games will be available in each section of Union Restaurant & GameYard.
The restaurant’s menu will be like “nothing you can get anywhere else,” Bass said. Taylor Dedrick, who has previously worked as the chef at Doc Crow’s in Louisville, is the restaurant’s executive chef. The restaurant will include options such as hamburgers, sandwiches and share plates.
Although there are spaces for people to sit down for a typical restaurant experience, many people will be moving around as they eat and drink, Bass said.
“We’re going to have a lot of very unique hamburgers,” he said. “We found out ever since Big Four [Burgers] left, there’s been a little bit of a vacancy here. There will be lots of sandwiches and hand-helds — you’re not going to get a steak here. It’s not that type of restaurant.”
The food menu will feature many shareable items with fun presentations and dipping sauces, including onion ring towers and doughnut towers, according to Bass.
The bar menu includes creative drink options people can carry with them as they walk around and play games. Bass said some of the highlights will be spiked lemonades with flavored popsicles that melt in the drink and “adult Capri-Sun” pouches with alcoholic beverages, Bass said.
Donaldson, who is Union Restaurant & GameYard’s operating partner, said he is excited to offer so many ideas in the same space.
“It’s a very flexible space where you can come and book a private party, have a big corporate outing to a girls night out to a bachelorette party, and it’s perfect for all the in-between. I think that’s the most exciting part...you can do casual dining, you can sit in our bourbon lounges or you can go play [a game].”
Upon opening, the restaurant will enforce safety protocols with social distancing and mask requirements, Bass said, and the seating arrangements in the outdoor area were already spaced out in the design. He said he thinks the restaurant’s large outdoor space will help people feel more comfortable amid the pandemic.
“We’ll always do our part, and if someone is super, super worried [about COVID-19], they might not be ready to come out, but maybe they can get some stuff to go,” he said.
Bass said he is excited to bring a new concept to Southern Indiana.
“I just think it will be fun, and I wanted to do something that enhances the area and draws people,” he said. “I just enjoy putting it together and doing something that’s new and giving people something to be excited about.”