For a little over a year, Scott Roughton has been toiling away at saving two downtown buildings. He’s been doing this while working full-time on the pipeline. Located on East Main Street, one of the buildings was known as the Western Lounge back in the 1960s.
Roughton’s basic concept for restoring the two units is to provide Pawhuska with a family-friendly facility called Grill 125.
"I’m thinking it will be more along the lines of a Chili’s or Applebee’s," says Roughton. "As a pipeliner, I’ve seen a lot of cool restaurants and picked up some great ideas. I also intend to preserve many of the building’s original features and have added a few personal touches to the front façade."
Roughton crafted the beautiful wood entrance which will be accentuated with an awning to provide shaded space for outdoor dining.
He was pleased to rescue the original wooden bar from the Western Lounge and credits restoration of the massive bar and sideboard to the diligent efforts of his girlfriend, Karee Kleier.
"Karee put a lot of TLC into restoring these two units," says Roughton. "Her son, Caleb, has also been a tremendous help in restoring both buildings. I wouldn’t be where I am now it if wasn’t for the help of so many tradesmen, along with numerous friends. They are making my dream a reality. I have also made it a point to shop locally at both lumber yards and to use local trade’s people. I’ve always wanted to have something like this. I opened up the ‘Dog House’ which is where ‘Prairie Dog’ is now. That really wasn’t what I wanted so I went back to work on the road. I had almost given up on my dream. Then, I had an opportunity to buy these buildings. They are perfect with a good roof and solid walls."
Roughton said his first priority is to complete the west side of the unit although basic renovations have been completed on the east side. The walls of the west building will be a combination of original plaster and brick. He’s currently in the process of completing two tiled restrooms. The back part of the building will feature a lounge area and big-screen TV for weekend sports events. The east wall of the bar area will feature antique signage.
Connecting the two buildings meant creating two separate openings. While new, the vintage French doors mimic those of the original era. Vintage ceiling tiles and moldings have been saved. Roughton is even exploring plans to restore the upstairs into a hotel. This idea was reaffirmed when he found a replacement door for the upstairs that had the words "Hotel" already painted on it.
Roughton hopes to have renovations of both buildings completed by the end of August when football season starts. He would like to have it available as a place for high school kids to enjoy and on weekends for guests to enjoy sports.
"I’m not shooting for a bar scene," says Roughton. "My goal is to provide good food, a great atmosphere — a place where folks can gather, relax and have fun."