The staff at Racks enjoy the quieter tone of the smoke-free bar and grill. (Garrett Estrada photo)

The staff at Racks enjoy the quieter tone of the smoke-free bar and grill. (Garrett Estrada photo)

Ely Times Staff Writer

Brothers Steve and Pat Stork have put a lot of love and care into crafting a different kind of bar.
Racks is a smoke-free, brightly lit bar and grill that offers an outdoor patio, free Wifi and event catering, in other words, it everything people usually don’t expect from their local watering hole.

According to Steve Stork, the goal was to make the place family-friendly style place that everyone from business people to sports fans could enjoy.

“We tend to run a nice, quiet establishment,” he said. “We have good food and good service. We pride ourselves on not being the rowdy bar.”

The Stork brothers purchased what used to be Grub and Pub back in 2011, a bar they were patrons of at the time. Seeing an opportunity to try something a bit different, they took a risk and shut the bar down to completely renovate it.
Now equipped with flat screens, gaming and local trophy game heads decorating the wall, they renamed the bar “Racks” to try and appeal to the hunting crowd.
Turns out the modern update attracted a bit of everyone.

It’s not unusual to see County Commission members in for lunch, or families coming in for the dinner menu. But to the Storks, there’s always more work to be done. Steve pointed out that the next big project is to renovate the front of the building that faces Aultman Street.

“The front of the building doesn’t really represent what is behind the door,” Stork said, noting he sees customers peek their head inside to see what kind of place it is and are usually surprised by its bright, smoke-free atmosphere.
His employees also enjoy the quieter tone of the establishment. Newly hired bartender and waitress Charlotte Duncan said she “loved” working at the bar and grill because it “doesn’t feel scary like a normal bar.”

That’s not to say the place doesn’t still get a bit loud during sporting events. Stork mentioned they carry every NFL game, with their recent Super Bowl party being a big hit. Held as a potluck style, people brought in lots of their own food, and Stork gave away team memorabilia, including a raffle for a Brett Favre signed Green Bay Packers helmet.
He’s hoping he can drum up similar interests in upcoming UFC fights.

“We’ve tried a lot of different things since we’ve started. One of the things we are really trying to push is to show UFC fights. We are hoping that people are going to come out and show an interest to make it worth our while to have a venue in town that shows these fights,” Stork said.

Rack’s Barr and Grill will start with the upcoming bout between Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann on Feb. 22. There is no cover charge except for a two-drink minimum.