TUSCOLA – A former bartender and waitress at the old Sonny's I-57 Sports Bar has begun leasing the building and plans to start a nightclub there.
Tonya Yoder and her husband, Rick, of rural Tuscola, asked the Tuscola City Council on Monday for a liquor license so they can reopen the sports bar into a nightclub called Tonya'z Club 57
The sports bar closed about two months ago.
Mayor Dan Kleiss announced he would issue a full liquor Class A license to Tonya'z Club 57, which will be adjacent to the Tuscola Holiday Inn.
"Welcome to Tuscola," Kleiss said. "I wish you great success out there."
Once the new liquor license is issued, Kleiss said Tuscola will have 16 liquor licenses overall, including six Class A licenses.
Tonya Yoder said she worked at the sports bar prior to its closing.
"When Sonny's closed, we talked to the owner of the building and decided to go from there," she said.
Yoder said her goal is to convert the bulding into a full-fledged nightclub-dinner club.
"We'll have one menu for lunch and specials every night throughout the week," Tonya Yoder said. "For example, we'll serve seafood on Friday nights and offer steak dinners on Saturday nights."
Rick Yoder said he believes the nightclub will become well-known for its sizzling steaks. A former cook at Sonny's will serve as the chef.
Tonya Yoder said she also wants to appeal to Tuscola area sports fans by showing football and basketball games on the TV at the nightclub.
They will also feature music on Thursday nights, rotating country, 1980s music and one-hit wonders with a DJ.
"It should be a lot of fun for everybody," Rick Yoder said.
The couple plan to be open at the end of the month.
In other business
Tuscola to help sponsor Illini basketball. The city council voted 8-0 to give the Tanger Outlet Center $17,500 toward the $60,000 cost of sponsoring University of Illinois men's basketball.
The money will go toward an ad on the running board on the floor, ads on the outside marquee at the Assembly Hall and a host of radio commercials on WDWS and the Illini Sports Network.
The city originally planned to give only $10,000, but it was asked to fork over an additional $7,500 because Tuscola Tourism (which is also investing in the ads) spent much of its budget on the sesquicentennial celebration.
In exchange for the additional money, Tanger has agreed to add "and visit downtown Tuscola" to the commercials.
"It is probably one of the bigger media buys in the area," said Brian Moody, executive director of Tuscola Economic Development Inc.