Over two decades, entrepreneurs Scott Kramer and Steve Zumoff have opened a string of successful bars and restaurants along East Carson Street. Their latest venture comes at the expense of their earliest.
The Beehive Coffeehouse and Dessertery opened in 1991, heralding the South Side's arrival as a cultural hotspot with its funky décor and hang-out atmosphere. Eventually, it grew from one storefront to three, plus an outdoor patio. In 2010, it even acquired a liquor license.
But just as the neighborhood's shops have been supplanted by an endless influx of bars, last November two of the three Beehive storefronts closed to make way for Kramer and Zumoff's The Rowdy Buck. The bar and restaurant with a rustic-lodge theme opened March 16, at 1325 E. Carson St.
The Buck features "camping-themed food," says Kramer, including "gourmet hot dogs." The lunch-and-dinner menu has both meat and vegetarian options, something like the pair's popular Doublewide Grill. A wall was removed to accommodate the wood-bedecked interior, including a dance floor with plans for live music. By summer, the Buck will annex the Hive's signature patio.
The Beehive was too costly to run at its peak size, says Kramer. He says few have complained about the shrinkage. "Most everyone said, 'This is really nice, it's a lot cozier.'"
Except smokers. "It was the last coffee shop where you could smoke and drink coffee," acknowledges Kramer. And now it's not.