LAKEMOOR – Paul Gasior loved his commercial property in Lakemoor too much to let it remain vacant.
That passion prompted the Johnsburg resident to pour more than $150,000 into the building at 615 W. Route 120 that many may remember as the Longhorn Steak House, and turn it into The Longshot Sports Pub.
“This is her swan song,” Gasior said referring to the building. “We wanted to give her one last face-lift before retirement and put our heart and soul back into this business and the community.”
An early love for the kitchen started for Glasior when he was 13 years old working as a bus boy. The now 57-year-old worked his way up the kitchen ranks, which eventually led to degrees in culinary arts and hotel and motel management.
After a 12-year stint working at the Highland Park Country Club, Gasior purchased the Longhorn Steak House in 1990, offering prime rib, broiled steaks and high-end hamburgers using recipes he mastered during an apprenticeship at the Drake Hotel.
The restaurant was renamed Longhorn Steak and Crab Shack in 2000.
“A lot more steak houses were opening up in the area at that time but you didn’t see much seafood,” said Gasior, who runs the business with his sister, Claudia Tox. “We did very well for many years.”
The two decided to close the restaurant in 2007 to spend more time with their families, but leased the building to tenants who reopened it as the Iron Bull. That lasted until 2009, and the building sat vacant for about eight months until a new tenant signed a lease to open a high-end nightclub in that location.
That project fell through, and the building sat vacant for more than two years.
“We couldn’t see just letting it fall apart,” Gasior said. “There is a long history at that building, and we wanted to give it one last chance.”
The duo agreed on reopening the renovated building as a sports bar geared toward unique menu items at a reasonable price with a family atmosphere.
The property now includes a loft dining area above the main floor and outdoor seating overlooking Lily Lake, among other amenities.
Highlighting the pub-style menu are the “Torpedo Burgers,” made homemade from 100-percent ground chuck and placed on specialty bakery bread. They can also be topped with liver sausage, guacamole, bacon, jalapeños or horseradish, among other items.
A late-night menu, Friday fish fry, homemade potato chips and full slate of appetizers are also offered.
“I started at this place when I was 36 years old, and I am as excited now as I was the first day we started,” said Gasior. “The response has been tremendous thus far.”
Plans are in the works for video gaming machines, open mic and comedy nights, and live bands. A unique addition could also come this spring when sand is combined with ping-pong tables for barefoot sand ping-pong.
Adding to the business is a family atmosphere that includes Gasior’s three children – 23, 22 and 19 years old – working at the sports bar. His wife and nephew also help out.
“We are truly a family-run business geared toward the local community,” Gasior said. “And we believe in supporting small businesses.”
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The Longshot Sports Pub:
What: A restaurant and sports bar geared toward unique menu items with a family atmosphere.
Where: 615 Rand Road, Lakemoor
Hours: Opens at 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Information: Call 815-385-0999.