Jim and Jerry Chandler opened the first Sportsman’s Grille restaurant in 1985 with ten items on the menu. They wanted to recreate a northern hunting lodge atmosphere with fresh, hand-packed burgers, chili, catfish and cold beer. The business and menu have since expanded. Sportsman’s Lodge opened in 1998. They have three restaurants in Evansville, Indiana (Gerst Bavarian Haus, Sportsman’s Pub & Billiards and Smitty’s Italian Steakhouse). After losing their lease after 47 years at Melrose Billiards, the family will soon open a new pool hall — Houston Street Pool Hall — in the Wedgewood-Houston area of Nashville.
The children and sons-in-law are now involved in the businesses and the family’s passion for good food, comfortable atmosphere and family gatherings inspire them to provide a great all-around experience. The service is friendly and all food is prepared with the freshest, natural ingredients from family recipes. Everything is homemade and prepared in-house.
Interesting facts of Sportsman’s Lodge:
— Logs used in the construction of Sportsman’s Lodge are Engleman Spruce from Northwest Montana. They grow at higher elevations and are harvested from standing dead timber that have been damaged from fire. The log walls are 12″ in diameter and are approximately 75 years old. The timbers in the trusses are 15″ in diameter and are over 125 years old. The three main timbers in the bar area are over 24″ in diameter and are will over 200 years of age. The logs were hand peeled and handcrafted to fit together to form this structure.
— The building was designed to capture the spirit, style and warmth of the Rocky Mountain National Park lodges built in the early 1900’s. There are four old lodges still standing in Glacier National Park, Montana. The logs were designed and each handcrafted to compliment the rustic style of the building.
— The two large, antique antler chandeliers in the main dining room won the Blue Ribbon in the Lighting Exposition at the 1890 St. Louis World’s Fair. The remaining antler chandeliers were designed and constructed in Grand Junction, Colorado. All other lighting fixtures are reproductions from the 1920’s.
— The furniture was constructed for Sportsman’s Lodge by Old Hickory Furniture Company — the same company that supplied the western lodges in the early 1900’s. This furniture can still be found today in Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming and in the lodges of Glacier National Park, Montana, as well as some of the lodges in the Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks.
— The river rock used throughout the building came from East Tennessee.
— The large painting over the main dining room fireplace is a scene from Glacier National Park by artist John Fery, commissioned by the Great Northern Railroad in 1905.
— The fish carvings in the boxes were made by artist and woodcarver Ralph Springfield of Michigan. He spends as much as one hundred hours carving and hand-painting each fish. He also handcrafts each box which contain antique lures and memorabilia.
— Selected photographs are from renowned artist John Baeder’s private collection. Other decorations and photographs are from our travels throughout the Northwest United States and Canadian Rocky Mountain regions.