WALLY'S WORLD: Owners making mark on Buckley business

Way back whenever, the White Horse Tavern was in Enumclaw in the 1600 block of Cole Street, in the space currently occupied by Enumclaw Accounting or City Perk. (I’m not sure which, and it’s not important enough to research.) Anyway, the tavern burned down in the early or mid-1960s. Thereafter, the owner took his insurance money and opened a new White Horse, the one everybody is familiar with, which was on state Route 410 just outside downtown Buckley.

The business went through a series of owners. Jeff and Debbie Schweter, current proprietors of the Rainier Grill in Enumclaw, have claimed it for the last eight or 10 years. However, a few months ago, they sold it to Cindy Schaapveld of Puyallup and her brother, Rick Schuneman, who recently moved here from Minnesota.

The new owners have done some serious remodeling. In fact, they completely gutted the place, only retaining the attractive bar – which, as my fading memory recalls, was probably the only thing worth saving. That and the large, plate glass window with the horse head etched into it. Rich said they plan to frame this piece and display it somewhere in the new design. Similarly, the horse sculpture has been left on the roof.

“That’s kind of a Buckley landmark,” Cindy explained with an insightful, little smile.

Booths line the walls and surround the main room. During the afternoon and early evening, the place will cultivate a restaurant atmosphere and, as needed, tables will be set up to accommodate families for dinner. Lunch will also be served. The menu offers down-home cooking that concentrates on burgers and steaks, with the specialty being a three-pound burger and all the trimmings. There are 12 or 14 draft beers and, of course, a broad selection of wines and cocktails.

Later in the evening, minors will no longer be allowed in the place. If necessary, the main floor will be cleared of tables so people can dance. Initially, Cindy plans to have live music, but whether or not this continues will depend on how receptive customers are.

Walk through the rear exit from the bar and you enter a large, outdoor beer garden surrounded by an 8-foot-high cedar fence.

“This area will be nice,” Cindy laughs, “during the one or two weeks of summer we get around here!” A room on one side of the building is reserved for private parties.

The place is called “Bootlegger’s Bar and Grill” and it might be open today. If not, than probably by Saturday, depending upon how many bureaucratic hoops the owners have to jump through.

At any rate, when it opens I’ll be there. I’ll be the fellow falling off the bar stool.

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