Work moves forward at former Hamilton movie theater becoming restaurant and events center

The Heltons expect to have a soft opening of Shooters Sports Grill before what they call a ‘Super Bowl bash.’

By the time Super Bowl Sunday rolls around in February 2024, Todd and Alison Helton envision having a packed crowd at the new Shooters Sports Grill in Hamilton.

That’s the goal, at least, for the franchisees of the Hamilton restaurant now under construction.

The Heltons are renovating the former Danbarry Theater on Northwest Washington Boulevard into a triple feature. There will be two restaurants on either side of the building, and what’s being called the Washington Event Center (a wedding and live music venue) in the rear.

In the center, as people walk into the main entrance, they’ll be greeted by a 41-seat bar area nestled between the two restaurant spaces with what the Heltons are calling the Hamilton Jumbotron, a 10-foot by 20-foot video wall.

Though it’s a franchise of the Shooters Sports Grill, “it’s not a corporate store,” said Alison Helton, “It’s family-owned.” And it’s an investment in their hometown, Todd Helton said.

As of now, though, only the Shooters and Washington Event Center are certainties in the former theater. The Heltons are looking for a restaurant, preferably a steakhouse or a complementary eatery, to move into the 8,000-square-foot space that’s being “gray boxed” for the future tenant.

“I want it to be a restaurant,” said Todd Helton of the unleashed space. “I think we need restaurants.”

This will be the biggest Shooters location. There are three others (Liberty Twp., Loveland, and Maineville) but this will be the first official franchise, the Heltons said, and will be twice the size of the others.

The average Shooters restaurant can accommodate about 240 people at the tables and booths, and about 20 or so at their bar areas. The Hamilton location is designed to accommodate 450 people and 41 at the bar, which will not be inside the Shooters restaurant area “so anybody can use it,” Alison Helton said.

Right now, what’s being constructed are a lot of the things people won’t see, like water lines and other plumbing work, but door and window openings have been cut into the front of the building.

Painting should start soon, Todd Helton said.

The Heltons said they’ll anticipate anywhere between 80 to 100 people working at the facility when Shooters opens, with the lion’s share being part-time employees. They have already hired a general manager, but the hiring process of staff is expected to begin two months before opening.

The original goal was to be open by Christmas ― Todd Helton said “some things are dragging out a little longer” ― but anticipate a soft opening not too far beyond the original expected opening date.

“But our goal is to be open by the Super Bowl,” he said.

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