Eleven months later: Local hamburger joint reopens

Julia Fechter

Many around the campus and Statesboro communities were surprised when Bigshow’s Burgers and Bar closed its doors back in February 2016. It seemed the burger joint was closed for good.

However, the restaurant is set to return. Jim Rushing, who owns adjacent business Southern Billiards, purchased Bigshow’s near the end of 2016.

He had a soft opening for the new business that started Wednesday that will continue through the rest of the week.

Rushing, who has owned Southern Billiards for six years, decided to buy Bigshow’s about four months ago.

“It’s actually been a benefit to my side, because when they [used to] do a lot of business over here [at Bigshow’s], we got the overflow,” Rushing said. “We [Rushing and his colleagues] thought about it and talked it over a bunch until we finally figured ‘well, we’re going to try it for a while and see if it works.”

As of now, Bigshow’s Burgers and Bar will undergo a rebranding and become Cowboy’s Pub and Grub.

The state of the hamburgers

Rushing compared the Cowboy’s Pub and Grub menu to Bigshow’s old menu. He explained that hamburgers, a well-known staple of Bigshow’s, will still be served at Cowboy’s.

“We actually only have the cowboy and cowgirl burger. The cowgirl burger is a smaller burger, and the cowboy burger is a giant hamburger,” Rushing said. “Then we have all the trimmings…if you want bleu cheese, a fried egg…”

The hamburgers will be flame-broiled, which can give them a slight charcoal flavor. As for how the burgers are made, Rushing said they will be “handmade burgers, just like mama makes ‘em”.

Items such as oysters on the half shell, a fried seafood basket, chicken strips and wings will also be on the Cowboy’s menu.

“It’ll be mostly basket meals…Thursday to Saturday, maybe do steak night with all the trimmings,” Rushing said.

Cowboy’s will start with a seafood and burger menu and progress from there. Southern Billiards will, additionally, move its kitchen operations over to Cowboy’s.

“We will have this kitching running [at Cowboy’s] because we have to shut that kitchen down to pull some of that equipment over here,” Rushing added.

The local health inspectors have already done their final inspection, and the restaurant is good to go, according to Rushing.

New music and entertainment

Cowboy’s has one element that Southern Billiards does not- a sufficiently-sized entertainment space.

“This place actually has a stage and a vast floor and enough space that we can utilize all that,” Rushing said.

One reason Rushing wanted to turn Bigshow’s into Cowboy’s dealt with the local music scene, specifically country music.

“Statesboro, Bulloch County, has nowhere to go to listen to country music, dance, have bands…nobody does it, except the Moose Club,” Rushing said. “I’ve had quite a few phone calls of people saying ‘when are you opening? We’re dying to come.’”

While Rushing wants to bring more country artists into Statesboro’s music scene, he also wants to invite rock bands to play at Cowboy’s.

“Most of all the local bands, we’re going to have them here playing. Then, we’re going to specialize in some more well-known bands,” Rushing said.

He also plans to have karaoke on Thursday nights.

“Then, I’ll start establishing bands on Friday and Saturday nights,” Rushing added.

Licensing and bar hours

Rushing had to annex Bigshow’s and Southern Billiard’s together to bring Bigshow’s under Southern Billiard’s license.

“I’m utilizing my $4,000-a-year alcohol license. I don’t have to buy an extra one for this side,” Rushing said.

Rushing recently had to go before Statesboro’s City Council and have Cowboy’s properly zoned. Then, he also had to apply for a new alcohol license.

Cowboy’s will also be operating differently from Bigshow’s in terms of its bar hours. Just as Southern Billiards turns into a bar after 11 p.m., so will Cowboy’s.

That means that after that time, people under the age of 21 will be asked to leave the premises. Underage people will also be carded at the door and not allowed inside.

“That’s the way we’re going to keep it…you’ll find the other restaurants in town have to abide by that same rule,” Rushing said.

Looking forward

The location of 200 Lanier Rd. has changed many times, being reinvented by name and ownership. What has not changed is the restaurant’s importance to Georgia Southern students and the Statesboro community at large.

According to Rushing, as Cowboy’s opens and its business grows, it will require more employees. Southern Billiards’ managers are looking at job applications now, even though they have filled many job spots. Interested students may go to Southern Billiards to inquire about applications.