For decades, antagonists have been known to use the rather irksome catcall “neener, neener, neener” to taunt, jeer or to drive a point home.
In Genoa, the old expression is making a comeback – in two-foot high letters, adorned with sassy red lights at NeeNerz – a restaurant, bar, dance club and multi-purpose entertainment complex located at 22361-1/2 Holt-Harrigan Rd., just off SR 51 in the old storefronts once occupied by Video Connection, Movie Gallery and Joleena’s.
NeeNerz owners James Takas and Barb Allgire wanted to create a fun place to kick back and relax, and if you ask them, there’s nothing childish, annoying or irksome about that.
|Behind the bar at NeeNerz are Barb
Wegman-Allgire and Jim Takas. (Press
photo by Ken Grosjean)
“Most middle-aged people like to remember when things were easier in their lives,” said Allgire, a 1980 Genoa High School graduate. “And so, that’s the whole idea of what this restaurant is. When people come in here, they can forget about what’s going on out in the real world for a while, which is really a big part of the whole ‘neener, neener, neener’ concept.
“The name of this business says, ‘To heck with life for right now. I’m just going to try to forget.’ And we’re not talking about the alcohol brand of forget –we’re talking about taking our guests back,” she said.
“It seems like everybody else out there has a sports bar these days, and in that respect, we wanted to bring a little uniqueness to this business,” said Takas, an Oregon native and an alum of Owens College, where he earned a degree in robotics (he also holds one in computer science). “Maybe not everybody likes sports, so we thought why not try to attract those kinds of people, too?”
“When talking to other people I graduated with, one thing I constantly hear is how there’s no place to go where people from our age group can have fun,” Allgire said.
The pair found the location perfect for what they were looking for. “The parking is good. The location is good. And, it’s in the town I grew up in,” Allgire said. “We wanted a restaurant that serves alcohol, along with a dance floor that runs ‘70s and ‘80s music to kind of bring back those clubs we used to hang out in.
“But, the important thing to remember here is that we’re not really a bar, we’re a restaurant first,” she added.
Allgire earned “her stripes” working at the long-since mothballed Button’s, working the door, walking the floor and slinging drinks at the bar starting at the age of 18. She also has years as a kitchen manager at Bob Evans under her food/beverage/service industry belt.
Since opening July 1, NeeNerz has been striking a sweet chord with customers. Early risers can’t seem to stop raving about the generous three-egg omelets. Burger King isn’t the only place to have it your way anymore, as NeeNerz diners can add their choice of mushrooms, black olives, banana peppers, or any combination of crisp, garden-fresh veggies to any cheesy, meaty omelet for no additional cost.
Accompaniments include savory biscuits-and-gravy (made even heartier by actual big chunks of sausage), fresh meats and potatoes that are fried up to order.
If getting up with the roosters isn’t in your comfort zone, NeeNerz also serves up a mean workday lunch of traditional, classic American fare to help you get through your 9-to-5. The menu includes something for everyone, including zesty spaghetti with meat sauce, chicken Alfredo, a grilled steak wrap, Barb’s famous tuna salad sandwich and fresh Greek salad. There are also burgers, burgers, and more burgers including the quintessential bacon cheeseburger, the pizza burger, and a creation piled high with cheddar, provolone, and Swiss cheeses, as well as jalapeno peppers and NeeNerz special hot sauce, which has earned the name the “Flaming Comet Burger.”
NeeNerz recently added suppertime menu includes assorted comfort foods just like mom used to make including a range of chicken dishes, pastas, and hard-to-come-by favorites such as old-fashioned ham steak. The above will compete with special lasagna and chicken paprikash nights, among specials.
Diners can enjoy pleasant distractions such as ‘80s music and popular culture trivia challenges; something the co-owners like to call “The Not So-Newlywed Newlywed Game,” during which married couples can get to see how well they know one another in a game show setting); and the restaurant’s soon-to-be debuting collection of ‘70s and ‘80s music memorabilia that will adorn the walls along with musical instruments of every ilk (Takas comes from a family of professional musicians).
Thirsty patrons can also sidle up to the handsome handcrafted bar for a selection of drafts, bottled beers and other libations.
Coming sometime in the spring to the beat of strobing lights and synthesizer-driven pop, will be an 18 x 23-foot dance floor where patrons will be able to escape and cut loose.
And if the rest of the world doesn’t like your ‘80s moves, you can always say “neener, neener, neener!”
NeeNerz is open Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact them at 419-855-3338, or follow them on facebook.