New R-Bar Brings An Urban Twist To Warsaw

By: 
Judy Kramer
County Reporter
The Roadhouse Restaurant and R-Bar, located on Lake of the Ozarks and Warsaw Avenue, thrived from 2014 until 2018. But, serious wear and tear of the building caused owners, Kevin Lapittus and Stacey Smalley Taylor, to close the building on December 15 and reopen their new restaurant, the R-BAR Restaurant, across the street. They opened R-BAR five weeks later, at 6 PM, January 18, just a few hours after gas lines were hooked up. 
“We didn’t want our employees to be out of work for long, especially during the Christmas season,” said Stacey. “So we pushed renovations at our new location ahead to open again as soon as possible.”
Stacey and Kevin bought the old welding shop and garage in September of 2018. The building is 81 years old and was also an oil change and gas station in the 1950s. Neighbors, extended family and customers helped them turn the building into the style of a micro brewery, with textures of steel, reclaimed wood, stone and iron. Kevin said that he was happy to work in a building with a history, saying that there was an urban feel and edge with elegance provided by the fireplace.
“We live right behind the new restaurant in White Branch, and our neighbors are wonderful,” said Stacey. “A lot of them are retired plumbers and have other building skills that they were willing to put to use helping us. Some of them donated lumber, steel and their time while refusing to take payment.”
The new restaurant has more dining space, and a smaller barroom. The bar has a counter top made of walnut, the TV is 75 inches, and there is a view of the large stone fireplace through a glass window that looks into the largest dining room. It is a smoking bar, but great lengths have been made to double the walls between it and the dining area so diners are not affected by the smoke. In addition to the dining space near the fireplace, there is an eating area located in front of the building that provides a view of the sunset and a partial view of the Lake. It is good for large groups that want to hold dinner meetings or just large family gatherings. Although bands will not be playing in the bar at this time, acoustics are being put in for use in the future.  Stacey said that a concrete patio will be built outside of the bar so that bands can play in warmer weather. Kevin and Stacey have purchased land next to the restaurant which makes their property a total of two and a half acres. They hope to use some of the newly purchased land for extra parking. An interview with Stacey and Kevin, plus a tour of the new restaurant appeared on BCE TV on January 25. For a look at the program, go to bentoncountyenterprise.com and select BCE TV.
“The menu is practically identical to the one we had at the Roadhouse,” said Kevin, a long-time chef and restaurateur. “Our customers liked the food we served before, so we decided to continue with it.”
Stacey is originally from Independence, Missouri, and graduated from high school in Clinton. When she met Kevin, the two moved to San Diego where he was from and lived a couple of blocks from the beach. After several years, they decided to move to Warsaw to be close to Stacey’s first grandchild and to her grandparents. They wanted to buy a small restaurant to run, but when they found that the Roadhouse building was for sale, Stacey remembered eating there in the past and they opened up their restaurant there in February 2014.
Kevin began working in the restaurant business at the age of 14 when he got a job at a pizza shop. Then he moved on to fine dining, opening restaurants and becoming passionate about cooking.  In addition to being a chef, he also worked as a director of children’s nutrition in a school district.
“It is here that I want to stay,” said Kevin. “When I first moved here I had a little adjusting to do, but now I love the people, the slow pace, and hunting and fishing in the outdoors.”
 

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