Why a new Fairfield sports bar has been ‘packed since they opened’

The recent opening of a new Fairfield sports bar at the site of a series of previous restaurants comes at a helpful time for the business and the community, officials said.

The Berd’s Grill & Bar has been busy every day since it opened on June 9 in Village Green across from the city’s park and Community Arts Center, which hosts Groovin’ on the Green, Fourth Friday Summer Concerts and Wednesday’s Red, White & Kaboom.

“Their timing is perfect,” said Fairfield Chamber President and CEO Kert Radel. “And they’ve been packed since they opened.”

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Though the space hasn’t been vacant for long stretches of time since Symmes Tavern on the Green closed in September 2016, Berd’s is the third business to occupy part of the space. Radel said by having Berd’s in that highly visible location, “it shows Village Green is a success, which the Village Green concept has been a success for a long time.”

“It’s important to have someone like that in Fairfield,” said Radel, who added they have been successful in their first month because owners Matt Berding and Robert MacKendrick “have a really good business model.”

“They’re serving really good bar food, they have someone that can cook good, and it’s someplace families can go with the kids,” he said. “It’s just finding the right theme and running it properly that’s going to work for you. I think they have the right idea, and they’ve been packed since they’ve been opened. That right there shows you it’s a need.”

Berding and MacKendrick said they want to be ingrained in the culture and community of Fairfield. They’re in the space formerly occupied by Roc’s Grill & Bar, which closed earlier this year. Berd’s is the third restaurant in the space since Symmes Tavern on the Green closed.

Berding and MacKendrick describe Berd’s as a local family-friendly sports bar focused on high-quality bar food and drinks.

“This is something we talked about for years, the two of us,” said Berding, a 2000 Badin High School graduate. “I’ve always had a passion for sports bars, and the neighborhood feel.”

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The Berd’s menu features appetizers, soups and salads, wings, pizza, burgers and chicken sandwiches, a kid’s menu and desserts. The restaurant also has specialty platters, including the Symmes Tavern Ribs, which pay homage to the first restaurant in the space.

“We’re trying to get back to that Symmes Tavern feel,” said Berding.

He convinced Joe Schwarz and his son, JoJo Schwarz, who owned Symmes Tavern on the Green and still own the building, to let them offer the popular Symmes Tavern ribs.

Berding said he and MacKendrick, a 1999 Fairfield High School graduate, want to be involved in the community, including its events and schools.

“We just hope to be a staple in the community, and provide a place where people can go and enjoy their family and friends,” he said. “We want to be intertwined with the community.”

Berd’s is open 11 a.m. daily and closes at 11 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, midnight on Thursday, 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 p.m. on Sundays.

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