Games abound in new Stew’s
October 11, 2004
Abandoned for about 20 years, the historic Lucky Spur crumbled while redevelopment flourished around it.
But after nine months of intense renovation and about $1.7 million, the ugly duckling finally will have its day.
Stew’s Sportatorium at the Lucky Spur will open in November. The building, built in the 1880s, has housed many downtown Carson City businesses, including a casino, a nightclub and cobbler. Stew’s Sportatorium will be a sports-themed casino, bar and restaurant.
“We’re hoping to be open sometime in November, but hopefully sooner,” co-owner Michael Stewart said Monday. “But this is an older building, and you run into things here that you wouldn’t have with a new building.”
First off, the owners had to gut the entire thing. He said they acquired the 10,000-square-foot building about 16 months ago, and construction began around February. It’s been a long but rewarding haul.
“We replaced 100 percent of what was in the building,” Stewart said. “The plumbing, the electrical, the gas, the wood floor. The only thing we kept were the existing brick walls and the roof.”
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The Lucky Spur sign will remain on the brick building at the corner of North Carson and Proctor streets. Stewart’s father, Robert, and brother, James, are also partners in the project.
The original casino sign on Proctor Street, which once said “Silver Spur,” was redone. Now the blue, white and green sign reads “Stew’s.”
Various artifacts were found inside the Lucky Spur during the renovation.
“We’ve found shoes from when there was a cobbler’s shop here,” Stewart said. “And medicine bottles when this was a drugstore, and there used to be a newspaper here.”
Co-owner Scott Johnson, who handles the food and beverage side of operations, said they’ve found a wide range of curious objects, such as artifacts from the Chinese workers dating back to the 1800s and a keno ball probably from the 1980s. Some of the artifacts will be placed in a display cabinet between the front doors.
Construction workers found a mural of a V&T train on the north wall that stretches from the dining room to the restrooms. The date of the mural is unknown. The owners said they tried to save it, but it was too badly damaged.
Stewart’s grandmother, Frances Horning, will recreate the mural on canvas to hang in the casino/bar area.
Stewart said once the sheet rock is installed this week, the renovation will move a lot faster. For aesthetics, they’ll keep some of the original, cleaner brick walls bare.
About 280 people can be seated inside and on the patio and expect to spend $7 to $14 on a breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Now that the process is ending, Johnson and Stewart said the city’s permitting was efficient.
“The city has been amazing, but it has taken a while, longer than we thought,” Stewart said.
With fewer than 10 televisions, Stewart said he’s not shooting for the college crowd, but for families and people in their late 20s and up.
“We’re not trying to copy the sports-bar trend,” Johnson said. “We’re sports-themed, not a sports bar.”
Stew’s Sportatorium at the Lucky Spur includes:
• A microbrewery making six beer flavors. The brewery will have four fermenters, six serving tanks and a brewhouse.
• A horseshoe-shaped bar
• New bathrooms, kitchen and upstairs offices
• About 45 new employees
• A saltwater shark tank
• About 25 slot machines, but they can have up to 50
• A game room with a HO-scale slot car track and sport-themed games, a pool table and dart board
• Coffee, ice cream counter and a small gift shop
• An outdoor patio
• A basketball hoop and court in the dining room for scheduled “horse” tournaments
Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.