The Backstretch pub, 14 S. Sandusky St., will celebrate its 25th anniversary of ownership by the Meyer family on Saturday.
The event will feature live music with Burning Diesel, photographs and memorabilia and previous employees returning to once again take their position at the taps and reminisce of the past 25 years.
Current owner Joanne Meyer said her late husband, Jeff Meyer, purchased the pub in 1990. Her son, Kyle Meyer, is the general manager. Since the 1940s, there have been five owners and four names — becoming the Backstretch in 1984 when Steve Millisor purchased the business.
When the Meyers took over the reins in 1990, they first thought about changing the name but people were just starting to recognize The Backstretch, which they preferred over the previous name, Butsy’s. Over the years, The Backstretch — or Stretch — has come to be known as a downtown gathering spot. It is home to the “50-Day Club,” a continued tradition that local college students complete their senior year. Every year alumni return to town and visit the Backstretch to relive good memories of their youth.
The most significant transformation occurred last year, when the Meyers installed a full-service kitchen and began serving made-from-scratch, locally sourced food. The menu changes with each season, highlighting the season’s locally grown vegetables and fruits.
“This has been an exciting year. We aren’t just a bar anymore,” said Kyle.
The other rule of thumb is to provide a diverse menu. When implementing this change Joanne’s main goal was to not be additional competition in the downtown. They want to add to the variety available.
“The first question we ask when deciding on the menu items is, can you get that item anywhere else?” she said. “If the answer is yes, it doesn’t go on the menu.”
“ I enjoy the wine-tasting events at the Backstretch,” said Traci Cromwell, a regular customer. “It is a place I can go to for a drink, lunch or dinner, watch a sporting event or hear live music. Typically, we get food as carry-out. The food is amazing, fresh and unique. There are some items I enjoy so much that I am sad when the items go out of season. I look forward to the Jalapeno Poppers that are on the fall menu.”
The Backstretch is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., with kitchen hours of 11 a.m. to midnight.
Information for this story was provided by the Backstretch.