The space at 3619 Greenville Ave. that was most famously J Pepe's hasn't had much luck, but a new set of operators have arrived to give it another go. Still going under the name LG Taps, the bar's been taken over by Jason Caswell, a veteran bar owner, and consultant Peter Saucedo, owner of the Oak Cliff Social Club.
Caswell owns The Chuggin' Monk, a popular dive bar in Arlington, and has worked with others such as Lakewood Bar and Grill and The Old Crow. His goal is to provide a certain kind of bar that he feels has been harder to find.
"We're hoping to bring back the neighborhood bar that Greenville is so quickly losing," he says. "With San Francisco Rose going away, they're the last bar and grill left out here — a neighborhood bar that has cheap drinks and good food for a reasonable price."
J Pepe's closed in 2013 after 25 years, making way for a confusing bar called The Vagabond, which closed in 2015. Next came Knuckle Sandwich, a creative sandwich shop from bartender Eddie Campbell that opened in 2016, but was perhaps too creative for the neighborhood. LG Taps opened in the fall, but had no success.
One of the first things Caswell did when he took over was to post a query on Facebook asking customers about their concerns and problems with LG Taps as it was under the previous owners.
"They talked about the smell, the cleanliness, and the staff," he says. "So we went down the list and fixed every problem, including the fact that it was too dark. We added lights and swinging doors to give it a good feel."
Caswell also built a staff with experience. "We hired veterans from all over the place," he says. "Our manager used to run Adair's. We brought in a guy from Lakewood Landing and someone who worked at The Foundry; it's a hand-picked veteran staff, and that makes a big difference."
The space has two patios, including a large one in back whose natural landscaping gives it an Austin feel, which they enhanced by adding games such as cornhole, ring toss, and darts.
Cocktails will stay in the $8 range, including a signature margarita. They'll have 20 bottled beers and six beers on tap which they'll rotate from local brewers. Caswell's bringing over the burger he serves at his bar in Arlington, which he says won best burger, and is amazing. "And we don't charge for fries," he says. "For $10, you get a half-pound burger and a boatload of fries or tater tots."
He says their menu is a "fluid thing" right now. "We're seeing what customers like," he says. "But we just hired a sous chef from Mary Kay headquarters in Addison who's coming in to design a brunch program. We'll have pitchers of mimosas and big bloody marys. Everybody's doing chicken and waffles, but we're going to do chicken and funnel cake. Nobody does that. We'd definitely like to be known as a brunch spot."