New sports bar that pays homage to Youngstown area expected to open in September

Local News

Red 18 Sports Bar & Grille will honor a lot of people from the area

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Youngstown native has big plans for the south side this year and he’s not letting the pandemic stop him from pursuing his dream.

South Avenue will be having a new addition to the strip: Red 18 Sports Bar & Grille.

“It’s going to be, you know, a local sports-infused sports bar that honors a lot of people from the area,” said John Watkins.

The building was originally the Isaly’s Busy Bee family restaurant — a Youngstown staple — that many in the community can remember.

“It was [a] really big breakfast. Their food was really good. It was here for many, many years from when I was little up until now,” Watkins said.

Now, this popular property belongs to Watkins, but he couldn’t do it alone. One of his close friends, Courtney Williams, will be creating the menu, which will be your typical bar food. She will also be the head chef.

“I’m just excited for people to try it because I’ve been feeding people for a long time, so now I get to feed a city,” she said.

Watkins says the idea came about during the pandemic while he was mapping out his goals and figuring out his next steps.

“The pandemic was a gift and a curse for us because it gave us time to sit down and think about our next moves and our plan we wanted to do in life, and something we took pride in was our hometown,” Watkins said.

With times being critical right now, Watkins says he’s not letting the virus stop him from achieving his goals.

“Patience is a big thing. We definitely have to have patience and we definitely have to adapt to the times,” he said.

Watkins hopes to have his new restaurant open in early September.

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