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Forest Grove sports bar that burned in 2011 to rise again this month

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD. - Prime Time co-owners Ed Gilbertz (left) and Greg Jansen stand at the rebuilt restaurants front desk, made by local business F & C Cabinets and laser etched with the restaurants logo. Its just absolutely gorgeous, Jansen said.The end is near.

And that’s a good thing, because it marks the end of the long wait for Forest Grove’s beloved Prime Time Sports Bar and Restaurant to reopen.

It was the day before Thanksgiving in 2011 when a fire sparked by oily rags reduced the restaurant to rubble, chunks of which still lie just a few hundred feet west of its new site on Pacific Avenue.

Loyal patrons were devastated and held fundraisers for employees, who were losing their jobs just as Christmas approached.

Many of those employees will be back serving customers when the new Prime Time opens its doors—something co-owner Greg Jansen expects to happen within the next seven days.

“Seventy-five percent of our kitchen staff is returning,” Jansen said. About 60 percent of all the other staff will also be back, he said.

Jansen has also added nearly 20 new positions, bringing his staff up to about 70 to accommodate the extra customers he expects to be drawn to the building’s extra space.

PrimeTime 2.0 has added an outdoor patio, 30 more parking spaces than at the previous site, a new banquet room that serves 120 people instead of 30, and eight more TVs for a total of 32.

After the fire, some Prime Time customers shifted their business to Tabb’s Sports Bar & Grill in Cornelius.

“We did see a spike,” said owner Ron Tabb, but “we had a good following to start off with, even before Prime Time burned down.”

He expects to see a little drop in business when his competitor reopens.

“Everyone’s going to check Prime Time out,” he said.

But he also expects people to come back for his barbecue ribs and other comfort food, not to mention a new, top-of-the-line projection screen.

Jansen already has 3,500 potential customers. That’s the number of followers on Prime Time’s Facebook page, where Barb Wendte writes, “Can’t be soon enough for me,” and Joe Aronhalt writes, “How are we looking for 9/15? I’ve got a few Seahawk fans looking for a place to watch the game.”

When they get there, customers will notice a smaller menu, at least temporarily. Prime Time’s normal menu offers about 150 items, but they’re scaling down to 45 for the opening weeks, while everyone gets used to the new environment.

“We tried to pick the favorites,” Jansen said. “Fondue will definitely be on there. All the burgers, salads, steaks and prime ribs.”

And the full breakfast menu will be offered from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days a week.

Jansen had hoped to open this weekend, but vandalism set the schedule back a few days, when thieves cut copper piping from the restaurant’s outside refrigeration units.

And the final inspections didn’t fall into place soon enough.

A few final inspections were scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and when those are completed, the grand opening will follow quickly.

“We got all our staff on standby right now,” said Jansen, who will post the good news on the Facebook page (facebook.com/primetimesportsbarandrestaurant).

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