Winchester, owner of Cheer's Bar and Grill, said moving to 1212 Linn St. has brought continued growth to the business.
"It was a very good move for us. The location is much better and there is an excellent view," she said pointing to the dining room overlooking a lake and the ducks paddling through the water.
According to Winchester, when Cheers moved across Malone Avenue in November 2002, she was able to expand the dining services. Now, customers can choose the sports bar, with its seating around the bar and at the small tables, or take a turn down the hallway to the non-smoking dining room or the sun room which overlooks the lake.
Along with the expanded dining area, Winchester has expanded the menu. Emphasizing all the food is homemade, she added she has tried to feature not only a variety of dishes but also some unique ones.
The selection ranges from hamburgers to Cajun dishes to seafood and steaks. "We try to offer things no one else has. We want to be unique," Winchester said. She noted Cheers is the only restaurant between St. Louis and Memphis to offer sea bass on the menu
The chicken and dumplings, which Winchester again pointed out are homemade, are popular with customers. "And everyone likes our steaks. We buy quality meat so our customers know they will have a good steak," she said.
The dining areas have opened another aspect of business for Cheers. Winchester said the rooms can be reserved for private parties and special food selections can be designed to fit the customers' menu requests.
"We've grown from being mostly a bar to now percentage-wise our clientele is more of a dining crowd," Winchester observed.
But Cheers continues to draw a large evening crowd. For those interested in a night on the town, Cheers offers varied entertainment. Winchester books bands typically once or twice a month or there is a sound system. Kareoke is also a popular draw.
"We do it mainly for fun. We don't mind if you sing well or not," she said with a smile. "Everyone just has a good time."
Wednesday nights is set aside for poker. The popular Texas Hold'em is played around the tables. Monday nights feature dart leagues.
To meet the demands of a growing business, Winchester has added to the staff. Cheers now has some 22 employees, which the owner described as "family."
Many of the employees have been a part of the business since its beginning. Winchester noted Bobby Freeman has worked at Cheers almost since it opened some 15 years ago while Tonya Vozar's tenure is almost as long. Also Debbie Patterson, the kitchen manager, has been an enduring part of the Cheers' family
With the 15-year anniversary approaching, Winchester and the staff at Cheers have planned several special events from March 17-19. Along with door prizes, drawings and food specials, Cheers will host a frozen T-shirt contest at 10 p.m. March 18 and performance by The Melroys from 8 p.m. March 19 to 1 a.m.
And while she is celebrating the past, Winchester is looking at the future and how to continue to expand the services offered by her bar and grill. Among her plans, Winchester said this spring and summer the kitchen will offer pizza on Sundays in lieu of a full menu.
Reflecting on the business' changes, Winchester said she and the staff have always sought to make their customers feel at home when they walk in the door. "We want them to be part of our big Cheers family," she said.
The dining rooms and kitchen for Cheers are open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Bar hours are 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Sundays.