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Burger Bar's new owners have a taste for nostalgia!


Joe Deel, the new owner of Bristol's iconic Burger Bar, talks about taking over the business and his plans for the future. (Photo by Andre Teague/Bristol Herald Courier)
February 06, 2013
Check out this article by JAMES SHEA | BRISTOL HERALD COURIER |Posted: Sunday, February 3, 2013 2:30 pm | Updated: 12:49 pm, Tue Feb 5, 2013.

BRISTOL, Va. –– Joe Deel and, his wife, Kayla, are nostalgic.

The couple wants to return the Burger Bar to its former glory. They bought the restaurant in early January and have big plans for the operation.

“We want to take something that is a jewel and make it better,” Deel said.

The Burger Bar opened in 1942 and has remained on the same Piedmont Avenue corner in downtown Bristol, Va., ever since. Deel said locals don’t remember the Burger Bar of the 1940s. They remember the family who ran the restaurant in the 1980s and 1990s, and he and his wife want to bring back many of the old recipes from that era.

“People talk about the chocolate cookies that were here,” Deel said.

He plans to start baking pies and selling other deserts. Deel also hopes to reduce the price of many of the items on the menu and obtain a liquor license.

The Deels purchased the restaurant from businessman Ben Zandi. Zandi bought the restaurant two years ago after the previous owner had closed the business.

“I was working for Ben and I had this offered to me,” Deel said. “I like the nostalgia of it.”

Both of the Deels have culinary degrees. Joe Deel has taught at the Southeast Culinary Institute and worked at several local restaurants, including The Troutdale Dining Room.

He said he first became interested in culinary arts as a career when he saw the cook at The Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon. The cook was treated like a "rock star," Deel said.

But really, his reason for the career choice is personal.

“I always say I went into cooking because I wrestled in high school and starved myself,” Deel said. “I had to make weight.”

Both Deel and his wife dress in 1950s clothing and are trying to continue the historic feel of the business. They are owner-operators and spend a large amount of time at the restaurant each week.

They plan to continue Zandi’s tradition of purchasing local products. The beef is from Morristown, Tenn., and many of the vegetables are locally grown. They make the sauces, cheese dip and other items on the menu.

In the short term, the Deels plan to expand the Burger Bar. They have leased the building next door, a former insurance business. They want to cut a hole in the wall and add 35 to 40 seats. They plan to decorate the expanded section in the exact same style.

“It's really hard to make money with [only] 25 seats,” Joe Deel said.

He wants to work with the city and find a way to expand the business.

The Deels don’t plan on changing the Hank Williams theme. Many of the menu items are Hank Williams songs and people often stop at the restaurant during travels through the area.

According to legend, Williams ate his last meal at the Burger Bar before he died in the back seat of a car.

“Did Hank Williams stop here? Maybe?” Deel said. “We will never know, but I always tell people that he is sitting in the seat right next to them.”

jshea@bristolnews.com

(276) 645-2511

Downtown Bristol Blog

Daily Planning Gone Digital at CityMac

February 12, 2013
Bristol Chamber of Commerce Business Resource Center presents a workshop on Daily Planning Gone Digital on February 12, 8-9 am, at CityMac. This event is free for Members; Non-Members $25. For further information, contact Karen Witcher at 423-989-4850.

BHA presents The History of Southern Barbecue by Fred Sauceman at the Bristol Public Library

February 11, 2013
The Bristol Historical Association will present a program led by Fred Sauceman on Monday February 11, 2013 at the Bristol Public Library, 6:00pm. The title of his presentation is “Truth, Justice, Excellence in Barbecue, and the American Way of Life” and he will discuss the history and culture of barbecue in the South. This interesting and educational meeting is free and open to the general public.
Click here to read more.

Day-Long Theatre Bristol Workshops Provide Students Stage Performance Skills and Opportunities

February 11, 2013
Theatre Bristol announces Showbiz Saturdays! for all area students ages 8 to 15 beginning February 16 and running monthly on Saturdays from 9:00 to 3:00 pm. Students may register at Theatre Bristol, 512 State Street, Bristol, TN, on February 11th between 3:00 pm and 5:30 pm, or contact Scyphers at alscyphers@gmail.com to register. The entire series is available for $225, or particular workshop dates for $30 each, and family discounts and scholarships are available. Each workshop will culminate in a performance or demonstration open to family in the Theatre Bristol ARTspace at 2:30pm. For more information, visit http://www.theatrebristol.org/showbiz.html, or contact Audrey Scyphers at 423-383-5979 or email alscyphers@gmail.com.
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Father and Daughter Dance at Bristol Ballet

February 10, 2013
There is a Father and Daughter Dance at Bristol Ballet on February 10th @ 3:00 p.m. — 5:00 p.m. Daughters age 4 and over — there will be dancing, refreshments, and souvenirs for the young ladies. Cost is $10 per person and Pen's Floral is taking orders for corsages, pricing based on selection. Limited space available — please call or email your reservations to (276) 669-6051 or admin@bristolballet.org.

Tyger! Tyger! Gallery Bash at Benjamin Walls Gallery

February 09, 2013
Come to TYGER! TYGER! — BENJAMIN WALLS' BIGGEST GALLERY BASH YET on Saturday, February 9, 6-10p.m. This will be a night to remember! Ben will be detailing his upcoming Tiger trip, and debuting two new releases from Florida. Bring your friends, and he also asks that you bring at least one person that does not know his work.
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Art Smart Children's Art Class at Bristol Public Library

February 09, 2013
The Bristol Public Library and William King Museum are partnering to host the NEW Art Smart Children’s art classes beginning Saturday, February 9th from 10-11:30am. Classes will be held one Saturday a month from 10-11:30am and are open to children in grades 2-5. Each class will focus on a project corresponding with the monthly art exhibit on display at the William King Museum. Children will not only be able to create the art with their own interpretation, but also learn some art history as well. The first class will be based on the current exhibit of Salvador Dali’s Illustration of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The cost of the class is only $5 per session to cover the cost of supplies.
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Children's Pinterest Project Love-vent at blowfish emporium

February 09, 2013
Come to blowfish emporium on February 9th, 12-2pm for a Children’s Pinterest Project LOVE-vent! Be sure to register your kids for this fun workshop where they will create several projects that have a Valentine-theme! They will create a special multi-colored heart painting using their sweet hands that you will want to keep forever as well as an awesome GIANT paper rose. Cost is $25 per child for both projects! For further information,contact blowfish emporium on 276-644-1428 or info@blowfishemporium.com. You must register for this LOVE-vent by Friday, February 8th.

Foxtrot Ballroom Class at the Bristol Ballet

February 08, 2013
Come learn how to Foxtrot at the Bristol Ballet (519 State Street) on Friday, February 8, 7:30-10 p.m. The class is $10 per person and you pay at the door; refreshments will be served! Instructor: Ashby Dickerson. For more information, contact the Bristol Ballet on 276-699-6051.

Sweetheart Market at 524 State Street

February 08, 2013
Come out to 524 State Street for the Sweetheart Market on Friday, Febuary 8th from 4-8pm and Saturday, February 9th 10-6pm for all your Valentine needs, whether for a loved one or just remembering yourself! There will be 20 different vendors for you to enjoy, including 31, AVON, Scentsy, Rendi, Miche', Tupperware, Origami Owl, many handmade items and of course Tomboy Tools and more! We will even have a drawing for a grand prize and you do not have to be present to win! **Donations go to Theatre Bristol.

Adult Ballet Classes at the Bristol Ballet

February 07, 2013
Come join in an adult ballet class at the Bristol Ballet! The class is a drop in, pay as you go arrangement, and is held on Thursday nights from 7 to 8 p.m. No registration necessary, and the cost is $10/class. There is also no experience necessary — the class is geared toward beginners but has also been popular with people who took ballet years ago and just want to move for fun. Wear comfortable clothing, although ballet slippers are recommended. For more information, contact the Bristol Ballet on 276-669-6051.

Beaver Creek Storytellers at 606 State Street Gallery

February 07, 2013
606 State Street Gallery presents The Beaver Creek Storytellers on Thursday, February 7, 2013, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at 606 State Street, Bristol TN-VA. Admission is $5.00. Refreshments at intermission. Event is free to members.
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Kissing Fish at blowfish emporium's Thursday Night Painting Party!

February 07, 2013
Come to blowfish emporium on February 7th, 6-8:30pm for the regularThursday Night Painting Party, open to whoever signs up! Cost is $32 & includes EVERYTHING! There is a 5-person minimum, so we will be sure to contact all who have signed up by phone/email in case a class is cancelled. The painting project will be “Kissing Fish.” Contact blowfish emporium for further information: 276-644-1428 or info@blowfishemporium.com.

Sweets for the Sweet Fundraiser for Healing Hands Health Center — THANK YOU BLACKBIRD BAKERY!

February 06, 2013
Nothing says "Happy Valentine's Day" like a delicious cupcake, and that cupcake tastes even sweeter when it helps uninsured workers access charitable health care. Healing Hands Health Center is accepting cupcake orders for its third annual Sweets for the Sweet fundraiser.
Click here to read more.

Night Life at KP Duty in February

February 06, 2013
Come enjoy Night Life at KP Duty on State Street! Wednesdays 1/2 off on selected wines. Every Friday in February, you can enjoy 75 cent oysters, 50 cent shrimps, $2 drafts, and $5 martinis! For more information, call 423-764-3889.

Set up a Valentine Serenade from the Bristol, VA Parks and Rec Department!

February 06, 2013
Cupid and the Bristol, VA Parks & Rec Department have proudly lined up singing duet teams to deliver that special someone a melody of love and / or appreciation on Thursday, February 14! Along with their song, a rose and card will be presented at each visit. Hours of the event are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on February 14, and cost is $17 per visit. To request a serenade, call 276-645-PARK. Our department has been delivering serenades for over 25 years!

V-Day Sale at the Purple Loon, Feb. 1-14

February 06, 2013
V-Day Sale at The Purple Loon! Starting February 1st all beads and finished jewelry will be 10% off till Valentine's Day. This goes toward custom orders as well. Don't wait on someone else to do it for you. Get yourself something pretty!

Benjamin Walls Starts Kickstarter Campaign for Photographic Trip to India

February 06, 2013
Support Benjamin Walls's campaign for a trip to India to photograph the elusive tiger! On February 6th — March 2nd, log on to Kickstarter.com and search for Benjamin Walls. There you will see ways you can become a backer of this trip with a pledge from as little as $5. Once you pledge to back the trip, share it on your social networks to help him to increase the project's exposure and to encourage others to support the trip as well.

Student Art Gallery Celebrates Youth Creativity in Downtown Bristol

February 06, 2013
The Arts and Entertainment District is hosting the 2nd Annual Student Art Display in Downtown Bristol. In an effort to “Cultivate Bristol’s Creativity,” we have invited the local schools to help us beautify our community by providing art to decorate the front windows of the former Hayes Furniture Building on State Street. Each school that participates has a month-long display period to present their students’ art in the space. The fifth student gallery of art went up on February 1, showcasing hanging sculptures from 8th grade students at Saint Anne Catholic School. The students were given a piece of insulation foam, which they cut, designed, painted, and assembled into lively and colorful sculptural arrangements.
Click here to read more.

Get Your Valentine's Day Flowers at Pen's Floral!

February 06, 2013
Make this Valentine's Day the most special ever with a gift from Pen's Floral. We are featuring the Teleflora "Heart Strings" roses and lilies vase, which includes a heart necklace, but can custom arrange any type of bouqet to suit that unique person in your life. For the finishing touch, let us add a tray of gourmet chocolate-dipped strawberries or decadent chocolate truffles. Call now to let us design your gift of love today! Call Pen's on 276-644-4600 or go to their website: http://www.pensfloral.net/.

Pinterest Project at blowfish emporium: Fish Scale Painting

February 06, 2013
Pinterest Project at blowfish emporium of Wednesday, February 6, 6-8pm!!! We will be making a color-customized “Fish Scale” painting and framing the finished piece. This is an AWESOME project that turns out SO cool! Be sure to register by Tuesday, Feb 5th. Cost is $45 — you are welcome to BYOB! For more information, please contact blowfish emporium on 276-644-1428 or info@blowfishemporium.com.

Kids: Create a Card for the Valentine's Day Card Contest!

February 06, 2013
The Bristol Tennessee Parks and Recreation Department is calling on local kids to create a Valentine Card. This activity is open to children ages 6 to 12 years old. Children should create an original Valentine Card for their parent, grandparent or friend, and then enter the card in the contest. Age divisions will be 6-7, 8-10 and 11-12 years old. There will be three winners in each age group. The entry deadline is Tuesday Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. Winners will be contacted Feb. 13 for Valentine Day delivery.
Click here to read more.

Bristol council OKs agreement to boost music museum


Drawings detail plans for the front and sides of the Birthplace of Country Music Heritage Museum. (File photo by Earl Neikirk/Bristol Herald Courier)
February 06, 2013
Check out this article BY ROGER BROWN | BRISTOL HERALD COURIER |Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 9:15 pm | Updated: 9:22 pm, Tue Feb 5, 2013.
Click here to read more.

Upcoming Events

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Weekend Passes on Sale for $45

January 01 - May 31, 2013

Virgie R. Fleenor Art Gallery to Feature Twin City Photo Club in Exhibit in January & February

January 03 - February 27, 2013

Sweets for the Sweet Fundraiser for Healing Hands Health Center

January 23 - February 11, 2013

Set up a Valentine Serenade from the Bristol, VA Parks and Rec Department!

January 28 - February 13, 2013

Youth Karate Classes at Japan Karate-Do on State Street

January 29 - March 05, 2013

606 State Street Gallery presents February's Featured Student Artist Kandee Wallace and Featured Artist Judy O'Hara

February 01 - 28, 2013

February storytime, youth and family activities, and the Nevermore Book Club at the Bristol Public Library

February 01 - 28, 2013

Night Life at KP Duty in February

February 01 - 27, 2013

V-Day Sale at The Purple Loon

February 01 - 14, 2013

Pinterest Project at blowfish emporium: Fish Scale Painting

February 06, 2013

HTV's Spotlight on Music at CityMug

February 07, 2013

Kissing Fish at blowfish emporium's Thursday Night Painting Party!

February 07, 2013

Beaver Creek Storytellers at 606 State Street Gallery

February 07, 2013

Adult Ballet Classes at the Bristol Ballet

February 07, 2013

Sweetheart Market at 524 State Street

February 08 - 09, 2013

Beth Snapp at Machiavelli's

February 08, 2013

Foxtrot Ballroom Class at the Bristol Ballet

February 08, 2013

Beer Tasting at Inari Wines

February 08, 2013

Wine Tasting at Inari Wines

February 09, 2013

Tyger! Tyger! Gallery Bash at Benjamin Walls Gallery

February 09, 2013

Art Smart Children's Art Class at Bristol Public Library

February 09, 2013

Children's Pinterest Project Love-vent at blowfish emporium

February 09, 2013

Mathien at 620 State

February 09, 2013

Father and Daughter Dance at Bristol Ballet

February 10, 2013

BHA presents The History of Southern Barbecue by Fred Sauceman at the Bristol Public Library

February 11, 2013

606 State Street Jammers at 606 State Street Gallery

February 11, 2013

Pottery Class at One of a Kind Gallery

February 12 - 13, 2013

Daily Planning Gone Digital at CityMac

February 12, 2013

The Shifters at O'Mainnin's Pub

February 13, 2013

Phil Vassar and High Valley to Appear at Marsh Blood Drive at the Paramount Center for the Arts

February 14, 2013

The StereoFidelics at O'Mainnin's Pub

February 14, 2013

Adult Ballet Classes at the Bristol Ballet

February 14, 2013

Phil Vassar Performing on Valentine's Day at the Paramount

February 14, 2013

Valentine's "Owl Love You Forever" Painting Party at blowfish emporium

February 14, 2013

The StereoFidelics at O'Mainnin's Pub

February 14, 2013

10% Discount at Machiavelli's or 620 State for attendees of Phil Vassar concert at Paramount!

February 14, 2013

Beer Tasting at Inari Wines

February 15, 2013

Ray Cashman at Stateline Bar & Grill

February 15, 2013

Wine Tasting at Inari Wines

February 16, 2013

Rhythm of the Dance at the Paramount

February 16, 2013

Photo Workshop "The Art of Seeing Part I" at blowfish emporium

February 16, 2013

606 State Street Jammers at 606 State Street Gallery

February 18, 2013

More Upcoming Events »