Sat in on a meeting Lance Jack and Meghan Cole (of Carbondale Main Street) had with Kevin Kirkwood, the owner of the Icebox Bar and Grill, today. Got some background on Kirkwood and the bar/restaurant's operation. Christopher is an A.J. graduate from SIUC and owned the Urban Wear store located on West Walnut (where Sew a Lot is now) for a couple of years. He also owns the Illusions barber shop next door to that location. He rented the Spotlight Bar and Grill building (owned by Laurel Weiderman) last October and has slowly been working remodeling it along with his partner Bryan Blackburn, funding the remodeling out of his savings. Opening day is scheduled for tomorrow, Feb 18th. The Icebox does not have a liquor license yet, though one has been applied for, and Kirkwood says he has been told the city will not take action on it until after the upcoming elections. The business carries both dram shop insurance (thought it cannot currently sell liquor) and $2 million in liability.
Hours of operation are 11-2 and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m, with only appetizers served after 10 p.m. Specialty of the house is wings with an assortment of hot sauces. Christopher says his hot sauce selection will start where Buffalo Wild Wings ends. One of the cooks at the Icebox is the former owner of the Spotlight, a good chef but not a great businessman. The other staff consists of 3 additional cooks, 4 waitresses and 5 security. SIUC RSOs will be able to rent out part of the restaurant for events for $900, fro 10 p.m to 2 a.m., with only people with an SIUC ID allowed to attend and no liquor (or even gum) allowed. Customers will have to park in the limited parking at the restaurant or city parking lots. He plans on stationing one security person by the Verison/ Frontier parking lot to direct customers to park in an approved parking space.
Regarding the murder that took in the Verizon parking lot place after an event at the Icebox, Kirkwood says it took place after a wing eating contest at the restaurant and that a number of participants in the fight were people who had not been allowed entry into the restaurant. I have heard from other sources that the event was extensively advertised throughout Carbondale via Facebook, Twitter and flyers. According to him, a number of people had parked cars in the Verizon and when trucks showed up to tow them, tempers flared and the fight broke out, involving both people exiting the restaurant and those who had not gained admission. Since the fight was not on his property, he told his security not to get involved and called the police immediately.
Since the night of the murder, he has run approximately 8 more events, all from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. with no fights and only one argument between a couple of women. The police have showed up during most of those events but have not cited the business for any violations, at least none that I have found reported by the Carbondale Police. The events have been pretty quiet as I have only noticed one taking place about 2 weeks ago.