BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – After three generations of family ownership, Vinnie’s Santa Fe Tap, is now once again Vinnie’s Longbranch.
Chris and Tara Vincent purchased the business on Aug. 1 and officially opened the doors under the new ownership on August 5.
The couple hasn’t planned a lot of changes for the business, but Tara said a few changes have been made already, including purchasing a new outdoor sign.
“We’re still waiting for the new sign, they’re backed up just a bit but we’re hoping to have it up by Saturday,” she said.
For generations the bar, which Tara defines as a dive bar, has been home to many local musicians. She said she won’t touch that part of the business.
“We’re still going to have the live Saturday music and we’ll pop one on Friday every now and then, but we’ll never charge a cover and we still want this to be a venue for local musicians to play,” she said.
Chris said the bar was originally called the Longbranch when his grandparents Earl and Lorraine Vincent opened it decades ago. Those two sold the business to Jackie Vincent-Patton and Harold Vincent who then sold it in 1996 to Louis and Debbie Vincent, who are Chris’ uncle and aunt. He and Tara have now purchased the bar from them.
Tara said they don’t see changing much as they want to preserve the tradition of the bar through the years.
“We’ve leveled out the floor and put some new carpet down. We’re just going to do some minor changes right now. We’re trying to update the dive, without taking out the “dive” feel if that makes any sense,” she said with a chuckle.
“We’re just going to market a lot of local and live music like they’ve always had here. We’re changing the name back to the Longbranch paying homage to Chris’ grandma and grandpa.”
One of the most popular traditions is the annual Dry Creek Festival and Tara said she didn’t see that changing too much either.
“We haven’t decided what to do there..if we’ll move it inside like this year or leave it outside in the heat. There are some kinks to figure out, but right now we’re just getting going and trying to keep this a family business,” she said.
“There are so many regulars here and so many different walks of life you see. That’s the joy of what’s been built here through the generations and we just want to do our part to keep that legacy going.”
Chris said his business philosophy will be simple.
“My wife’s really the better person to do the talking, but we want to continue with cold beer and hot music.”
The bar has a new vendor for pool tables in Great River Amusements who’s brought in new pool tables. Tara said the bar, which is open 10 a.m to 2 a.m., will still feature pool tournaments and horseshoe tournaments, but beer and liquor selections will stay the same as they work through the transition.
This Saturday Spazm is scheduled to be the live music entertainment on Saturday beginning at 9 p.m. The pub is located at 2601 Avenue L in Fort Madison just across from the Hy-Vee on the west side of the creek bed. For more information contact the Vincents at 319-372-7987