Former WVU Fullback Owen Schmitt to open Morgantown saloon - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Former WVU Fullback Owen Schmitt to open Morgantown saloon

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A rustic rowdy hangout is on its way to Cheat Road in Morgantown, courtesy of former West Virginia University fullback Owen Schmitt and restaurateur Todd King.

Schmitt's Saloon is expected to open next month at 245 Cheat Road once its renovations are complete.

According to a news release from King, the men want to create a place where anyone is welcome to spend some time eating and drinking as well as playing or listening to live music.

King said the vision is a bar, restaurant and musical venue with a "West Virginia, country flair."

King approached Schmitt while he played in the NFL, with the concept for a new kind of venue for North Central West Virginia while capitalizing on Schmitt's love of the Mountain State, along with his love of live, loud mountain music.

Schmitt, a Wisconsin native, was a walk-on for the Mountaineers as a sophomore in 2005. He went on to an impressive and memorable career before being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2008, then playing for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2010-2011 seasons. He most recently played with the Oakland Raiders.

"I still don't believe this is really happening," Schmitt said in a news release. "I couldn't be more stoked. I get to combine all my loves into one place that I will call home: Music, food, sports and the state of West Virginia."

King said the location has been completely gutted, and will resemble an old-fashioned saloon, but with modern technologies.

Plenty of woodwork will add to a warm, cozy feel. Barn wood from dismantled barns in Monongalia and Preston counties will be used throughout the new space, the floors have been replaced with cabin-grade oak boards and the bar is made out of 1830s, antique oak. Even the restrooms got the saloon treatment - saloon doors swing in their entryways.

Scott Frederick, a percussionist who sometimes plays washboard with the area's well-known Davisson Brothers Band, designed the Schmitt Saloon dining room and provided the barn wood and tin.

"Providing the barn wood for Schmitt's Saloon has been like a dream of mine," Frederick said in a news release. "I love recycling salvaged wood, I love music, and I think Owen is a great guy."

Schmitt himself has gained some notoriety in the local music scene, playing a few songs with the Davisson Brothers Band on occasions when their schedules have allowed.

Schmitt's Saloon will be open daily for lunch and also will serve food late into the evening, according to King.

The menu includes some traditional classics, such as sweet potato fries and burgers, but a few additions create some flair – bacon, banana chips and a peanut sauce on the fries.

Unique items planed for the menu include bourbon-glazed deviled eggs and funnel cakes.

King said the venue's entertainment will revolve around music and sports, with music planned for as many as four times a week. King promises the brand new sound system and big screen will "make people think of the Dallas Cowboys and ‘Jerryland,'" but with tin and barn wood.

And to round out the lodge-like feel, Schmitt's Saloon is expected to offer leagues and contests for things like corn hole, pool, beer pong and even hot dog eating, to name a few.

For Schmitt, who has made West Virginia his home, he promises Schmitt's Saloon to be the second home of anyone who loves West Virginia, good food and good music.

A new website and Facebook page are expected to launch in the near future, and hours of operation will be 11 a.m. until whenever last call is made Monday through Saturday, and from noon to midnight on Sundays.