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Just-Us Place honors soldiers

Bar and dining room opened March 22; 200-seat banquet room in the works

Published: Saturday, April 6, 2013 1:20 a.m. CST
Caption
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Jeannie Kyker, owner of Just Us Place, talks with customers Jane Hornbogen (left) and Deb Smith at the recently opened restaurant, bar and banquet hall in Polo. She and her husband, Kendall Kyker, 50, created the space by renovating an old bowling alley.
Caption
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Just Us Place’s bright, sunny dining room features a mix of tables and booths made of wood from the old bowling lanes.

POLO – Polo does not have many venues suitable for weddings, reunions, and other large events, said Jeannie Kyker, who recently opened The Just-Us Place.

Kyker, 54, and her husband, Kendall Kyker, 50, are hoping to solve that problem. They are renovating the former bowling alley’s back room into a space that will seat 200. They hope to finish that project in October.

In this town of 2,300, everyone knows everyone, and so many residents want large weddings and reunions. They sometimes go to Dixon, Sterling or Freeport, because they can’t find a large venue, she said.

The bar and dining room opened March 22.

The Kykers used wood from some of the 12 bowling lanes to make the bar and the backs of seven dining room booths. They added new lighting as well.

On a wall in the hallway are framed photos of their son, Staff Sgt. Justus Bartelt, after whom the bar is named. Bartelt was 27 when he was killed in combat in Afghanistan in July 2010.       

They are adding photos of other local troops and they intend to add a graphic that reads “war on terrorism.”

The Kykers also memorialized their son by putting license plates from his motorcycle, pickup truck and Mustang on a wall of the dining room, along with a panel with four stars made from license plates. The panel and stars were a gift that their friend, Nancy Swan of Dixon, made in memory of Justus. Swan died about a year ago after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“It’s a little piece of her, and she’s gone, and it’s a little piece of Justus, and he’s gone,” Kyker said.

The Kykers allow the Polo VFW and American Legion to meet in the smaller banquet room, which seats 40 to 45, when it’s not being rented.  

The kitchen serves sandwiches, hot dogs, wraps, salads, soups and dinners such as 10-ounce New York strip steak and deep-fried whole catfish. Baskets with chicken strips or jumbo shrimp are also available.

Jeannie attended Polo High School from 1975-1976; Kendall is a 1981 PHS grad. They have three daughters, Shayann Bartelt, 27, and Simber Bartelt, 24, both Dixon; and Kellenn Kyker, 14, of Polo.

If you go

The Just-Us Place opened March 22 at 601 N. Union Ave. in Polo.

The dining area and kitchen are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The bar’s hours vary.

Go to thejustusplace.com, find the restaurant on Facebook or call 815-946-3614 for more information.

If you go

The Just-Us Place opened March 22 at 601 N. Union Ave. in Polo.

The dining area and kitchen are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The bar's hours vary.

Go to thejustusplace.com, find the restaurant on Facebook or call 815-946-3614 for more information.

 

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