Paladin Bar and Grill opens in Stephens City
STEPHENS CITY – A new sports bar and restaurant has opened its doors in the neighborhood. The fresh arrival to Stephens City, called Paladin Bar and Grill, specializes in an American-themed menu that includes mouth-watering items like pimento cheese fritters, chicken fingers, pulled pork, chicken and waffles, plus a selection of local beers on draft and as well as wine.
It was serendipitous timing for Dan Myers, general manager of the business, when the location on Warrior Drive became available last summer. Formerly Big Daddy’s Barbecue and Ribs, which closed in 2016, Myers said the foundation was already in place, including the restaurant fixtures and kitchen that were surprisingly nearly new.
It just needed to be “jazzed up a bit,” he said.
“I wanted that relaxed feel where everyone is welcome,” Myers said. “Where anyone can come in their work clothes, grab a beer or a really nice glass of wine and hang out. I wanted the atmosphere to reflect that vibe.”
To create that, Myers added his own personal design touches throughout the restaurant, carrying through the color scheme of gray and green from his other establishment, The Front Porch in The Plains, while incorporating original movie posters from his vast collection, original artwork and faux gypsy chandeliers. Myers said the decor is 110 percent him, eclectic and fun.
“It’s better than I ever imagined,” he said. “This isn’t our first rodeo but it just took off from day one. People are not shy about what they want. So far, we’ve been really well received by the neighborhood and surrounding community.”
When guests walk in they can choose to eat at the bar or in the snugs — closed off tables. Myers said they are super popular because there’s nothing like them in the area. The many spacious tables located throughout the restaurant and a private dining area, along with outdoor seating for those wanting to bring their dogs, round out the options.
“We have an amazing menu,” he said. “Where else can you get a little bit of everything?”
Myers defines Paladin as an elevated sports bar that serves up a little bit of everything for everyone’s palate. Popular feature items include the Paladin Burger with pimento cheese, fried green tomato, bacon jam and spinach, crab cakes with roasted red pepper remoulade, corn slaw, sautéed spinach and spoon bread. There are even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chicken fingers for the kids.
“Why not serve something for everyone?” he said.
Paladin’s menu is heavy on the meat because, Myers said, people in the Stephens City area want burgers and fries. When asked why, he said he just had that feeling.
That feeling hasn’t steered him wrong yet.
Chef Jason von Moll, formerly of The Front Porch and the Tobacco Company restaurant of Richmond, said his originality and creativity fuel his daily menus.
“We make everything in-house each day,” Von Moll said. “In a way, it allows me to hone my creativity on a daily level.”
Myers added: “Jason makes everything from scratch down to the salad dressings. If he had more time, he’d even make the ketchup. He literally is the best chef in the state of Virginia.”
Von Moll said he enjoys walking into the kitchen each morning and going through the coolers to see what looks good.
“I’m inspired by the everyday,” he said.
Myers said they like to source their food as locally as possible. Gore’s and Schenck’s are just a few of the local businesses Myers said they work with.
“It’s about quality. Good quality,” von Moll said. “That’s what compels our guests to return for repeat visits.”
Before leaving, guests are encouraged to stop and greet Paladin – the 1,100-pound bull sculpture that resides outside the restaurant. Myers said it’s not unusual to find guests snapping a few selfies in front of the chrome sculpture.
“He really is this cool piece of art,” Myers said. “He’s put us on the map.”
Paladin is one of five sculptures welded by Bettye Hamblen Turner from stainless and carbon steel and recycled motorcycle and car parts.
“Stephens City is incredibly lucky to have such a grand piece of art,” Myers said. “His presence alone really set us apart.”
Paladin Bar and Grill is located at 181-A Warrior Drive, Stephens City, and is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday.