Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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Belly Up To...

For the love of Urbandale


Urbandale is home for The U Neighborhood Bar and Grill owners, Chris Van Horn, Jeremy Payne and Chris Lynch. They chose to let their ownership show that and much more about their love for the community.

The U Neighborhood Bar and Grill offers bar specials and dinner options for guests of all ages.

The U Neighborhood Bar and Grill offers bar specials and dinner options for guests of all ages.

Each owner grew up in Urbandale and decided to settle down in the city they love. Van Horn runs the bar full time. Payne and Lynch both have separate jobs, Payne working at Principal and Lynch working in real estate. As if that isn’t enough to fill their plates, they all three officiate sports games across the state.

This love for their hometown has sparked a new design for the U. Ownership of the bar changed after 26 years of being known as Victor’s Sports Club. Opening as the U on Oct. 16, the bar and grill featured a revamped décor and menu. Red, white and blue cover the walls inside and out, while new televisions and Urbandale sports memorabilia now hang from the walls.

“It’s a natural tie-in, because we are literally five blocks away (from the school), so in a perfect world we would love families to come here before football games and basketball games and wrestling events, have a meal here, and then go watch their kids. At the same time, come here afterwards to come hang out,” said Van Horn.

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BellyUpPhoto2_Nov19The trio also found commonality with their hometown school through the logo. A very similar U is used as a logo of the bar and the school, but there are a few differences. This let the bar represent their love for the school and town but didn’t tie them to the school.

A grand opening is in the works for the bar and grill, but guests are flocking in to discover the renovations that have already been made, along with revamped menu items such as the pizza and wings that bar regulars loved. All new lunch and salad sections for the menu are to be expected soon.

Van Horn said he kept the most important thing about the bar around: the employees.

Not only did these faithful employees stick around after a change of employer, rebranding and a new menu, they also helped the owners reopen the bar and grill in only three days.

“This was a soft opening. We didn’t want to do a grand opening until we had everything in place. It was a lot for the employees to take on in changing and rebranding in three days,” said Van Horn.

The U not only rebranded, but its owners hope to change the vibe of the bar and restaurant. With the motto, “Good times with friends and great food with family,” the trio hopes to give customers a place to hang out with friends or family and a feeling of home and commonality.

“The employees know the customers, and they get to know the new customers. That’s what I like about the neighborhood feel. You can come here and be comfortable either by yourself or with your family. People know you and know who you are. What sets us apart is that true personal touch you can’t get other places,” Van Horn said. CV

The U Neighborhood Bar and Grill

7500 Douglas Ave., Urbandale
Daily 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Happy Hour: Mon. – Fri. 3-6 p.m.

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