New owners at BlueJays, Shari and Kevin Hammer with their children from left, Sydney, Addyson and Tayten, standing on the outdoor stage where bands will play this summer.
The highway going through Egan is a busy one and there are quite a few that don’t give stopping in this small, rural South Dakota town a second thought. There’s not much there it may seem at first glance - a grain elevator, some modest homes on the few side streets that turn off of the main drag, and a gas pump.
Don’t blink or you’ll miss it, right?
Well, you just may be missing something. The locals have a secret they’d like to share: there is some great food to be had with good people at a little place they like to call BlueJays.
The small blue building that sits on the outskirts of town is doing big business these days. The restaurant and bar added on recently to what had previously just been a convenience store and gas station, haven’t been established all that long. But in the short time BlueJays has been open, the food, the service, the live music often heard on the back lawn and the experience has earned it quite a following.
And, with it doing so well, the previous owners thought it might be a good time to pass the business along to a loyal employee.
Shari and Kevin Hammer recently took over the business. They are hoping you’ll join them this Friday for their own grand opening celebration!
“It was a great business opportunity, I had worked here for a year and a half prior to this, the chance just came up and we took it,” said Shari.
The couple live just a couple blocks down the road with their three children, Sydney, 14, Addyson, 6 and Tayten, 4 years old. The three were running around inside this past weekend, offering to take orders, wash dishes, help customers in the convenience store and just offer a smile.
“We’ve lived here for nine years. The kids are excited about it, our oldest is working already in the gas station part of the business,” said Kevin.
The couple say they aren’t changing anything - at least in regard to taking anything away from the business already established. What they are doing however, is adding some personal touches to the already successful venture.
“We’ve added tap beer in our outdoor area, we’ve added horseshoe pits and a few new menu items. We’ll have new menus coming out hopefully next week,” said Shari.
They’ve also extended the hours the gas station will be open to coincide with whatever hours the bar is open.
“Just the convenience of getting gas and a gallon of milk in a rural area like this, it’s huge,” she said.
“We also host special events like Christmas parties and class reunions, wedding rehearsals. We’re really excited, we have a pretty big following, people come from all over Moody County, this place is packed for lunch especially, supper is really good. We’ve been so busy since we took over, just with the people we know, we bring in a whole new crowd to build on the great business Rod and Tanya already had coming in,” the couple said together.
“The burgers are good. They’re the signature item it seems. If you get a burger here, you’re going to like it,” said Kevin.
Grand Opening Celebrations start Friday, Jun 20th at 5pm. Meet the new owners, (that is, if you don’t know them already, the couple are familiar faces to locals from the area). There will be music later in the evening, Jones & Company will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. And of course, you can order from the menu or take in the special being cooked up specifically for that night.
For more on the business or to stay connected with BlueJays and the events they’ll be hosting, including a summer packed with live music, you can find BlueJays on Facebook and watch for ads in area publications.