by Melissa Shepard, associate editor

RIVAL’S TAPHOUSE AND GRILLE, 2500 E. M-21, the former Café Sports, now under new ownership, is getting ready for their Grand Opening on Saturday, March 4. Shown here are Brandon Youngston, owner Jamie Youngston, and manager Matt Pilliod. (Independent Photo/Melissa Shepard)

Local sports bar Rival’s Taphouse and Grille, the former Café Sports, in Corunna, is under new ownership. Jamie Youngston has worked in the insurance industry, for Blackmore Rowe, for 21 years. He was familiar with Café Sports, his daughter, Alexandra Powell, was a server when the business opened three years ago. Upon hearing that the business was for sale, he and his wife, Lisa, approached the owner and closed the deal. Youngston officially took over on Dec. 1, 2016. “This has been a family project. My son Brandon, a former manager at a Buffalo Wild Wings, is here helping out for now. And my family sat down with me and we picked out the name. We named it Rival’s because of the strong rivalry in the community, both between Owosso and Corunna, but also between the other communities – Chesaning, Durand, Perry, etc.,” said Youngston.

Changes have been made, slowly but surely, since Dec. 1. The old signs came down and new signs were put up, new glass etchings that say “Rivals” are prominent behind the bar and Youngston’s wife Lisa, and manager Matt Pilliod worked on re-vamping the menu. Some new items on the menu include crab rangoons; poutine, which is made with french fries, cheese curds and topped with gravy; flat breads; and a hummus platter. A few of the main staples from the old menu will still be offered. “Our goal is to improve the quality and consistency of the food,” said Youngston.

Rival’s will also offer weekly specials and they plan on helping the community in any way they can. Cornhole tournaments will still be held, as fundraisers; a bike night and classic car show could be possible in the future; and they plan to have a “Thin Blue Line Night,” regularly, to show appreciation to law enforcement.

“The community has been very supportive. I bought this bar because I love this community. I think it has great potential to provide a family friendly sports bar, while also providing a good value and experience for people to come in and enjoy a variety of food and drinks,” said Youngston.

Rival’s Opens in former Cafe’ Sports was last modified: March 6th, 2017 by Karen Elford