Good people, great food, TR’s Sports Bar and Grille5/8/2013
Thom Ruan was a fun guy. He loved his hometown and cherished good times with good company. So it was a natural move for him to open his own bar — a home for himself and his people, a place all their own.
“He always wanted a Cheers-style bar. He wanted this place to be a bar where everybody could come in and know everybody else,” said general manager Joel Keene, who has helped run TR’s Sports Bar and Grille since the day it opened in Clive in 1998.
Thom passed away on Jan. 30 this year, but his legacy lives on within the walls of a bar that feels like it’s been there forever, donned in a collection of his passions.
“Thom was very passionate about the Cubs, the Dolphins and Dale Earnhart,” Keene said, which actually goes without saying. One visit to TR’s, and Thom’s passions are apparent. It’s filled with American culture and patriotism down to the last detail, something even a mere passerby could see, as evident by the American flag whipping wildly in the wind at the front door.
But more than for the patriotism, the sports and even more than for Thom himself, TR’s is known for its food. Steak, in particular. TR’s steak night made it a star on the map years ago, and it’s been drawing folks in on Monday and Friday nights ever since.
“He always kept the prices low enough so the everyday, blue-collar Joe could afford to eat and drink here, and everybody could be comfortable,” Keene said.
Everybody is. There isn’t a grump in the bunch, and if you hang around long enough, someone’s sure to buy the bar a round.
“Everybody in here is getting drunk,” said a man named Dan as he flipped open his wallet.
“Pretty sure they were drunk when ya got here, Dan,” said a quick-witted bartender named Angie.
“I only have hundreds,” a regular, aptly nicknamed Arrogant Mike, bragged to Angie in an effort to also buy a few drinks for the bar as an eavesdropping man next to him subtly jingled the ice in his otherwise empty glass.
But instead of breaking his Benjamin, Arrogant Mike cordially paid by pealing one free drink ticket from the top of a stack he had collected. He was one of the “early birds” for the two-for-one happy hour that began at 3 o’clock that day, most of whom couldn’t hang long enough for the grill to fire up by 5:30. Too bad, because the deals didn’t stop with the drinks: two thick pork chops and a side of fries for only $8, prepared by Mike Phillips, who might be one of the most underrated cooks in the Des Moines metro.
“I wish I had 12 Mikes working for me,” said Keene, NOT referring to Arrogant Mike, by the way. “That cat’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, and he’s damn good on the grill.” CVTR’s Sports Bar and Grille 7500 University Ave., Suite 1, Clive (515) 255-9985 Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m. – close; Sat. 7 a.m. – close; Sun. 8 a.m. – close with bloody Mary bar till noon. Happy Hour: Mon., Fri. 3 – 5 p.m.; Tues., Wed., Thurs., Sat. 4 – 7 p.m. and 50 cents off everything all day Sun. Kitchen: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; 5:30 – 9 p.m.; always open for appetizers Entertainment: Wed., Sat. karaoke 8 p.m. – midnight Capacity: 110