One major point of emphasis members are trying to make is that the restaurant and bar, as well as meeting room, have been designed to be enjoyed and used by the public. No affiliation to the VFW required.
After over three years struggling to raise funds and pushing through construction management issues, the Camdenton VFW Post 5923’s new building and restaurant are open to the general public.
The new building, a culmination of hard-work and dedication by veterans and the generosity of local citizens and businesses, officially opened the first week of August, but the Post will host a grand opening ceremony from noon to after 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3, to which the public is encouraged to attend. The address is 65 VFW Rd.
The local Denim and Lace Band is scheduled to perform and U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer is expected to be in attendance to celebrate the completion. Several post members will also be making speeches.
Featuring the brand new Bunker Bar & Grill and the Francis Geifuss II Community Center, the new building will eventually replace most of the services currently housed at the Post’s old building next door where weekend bingo games still draw a large gathering.
“It’s happened. We’re finally opened,” Post Senior Vice Commander Keith Lucas said. “We can’t thank the businesses (enough) that came together to help us overcome. So many have stepped up that the list of who has helped in one way or another is very long, but all are appreciated.”
Post 5923 received an incredible amount of labor and material donations from Scottie Martin of Scott’s Concrete, as well as Kim Brockman of Kim’s Carpet who donated all the flooring for the new building. Scott’s Concrete is currently working on adding additional parking space to the location.
Lucas is quick to point out that the project wouldn’t have been accomplished without the help of Fort Leonard Wood soldiers donating their time and labor, the VFW Auxiliary, and approximately two dozen other local businesses.
One major point of emphasis members are trying to make is that the restaurant and bar, as well as meeting room, have been designed to be enjoyed and used by the public. No affiliation to the VFW required. The Post anticipates offering live music and karaoke events on top of approximately 15 high definition televisions, Keno games, daily specials and a late-night menu already in place.
A dining room offers customers the ability to enjoy home-style cooking in a more relaxed, scenic environment as opposed to the bar room which offers darts, pool and a large square bar with a special seat reserved for POW-MIA.
“We just want people to know this is kid and family friendly, everyone is welcome,” Lucas said. “The building is completely smoke-free and the reviews we’ve gotten on the food have been quite positive.”
The community room is currently being used to train Missouri regional recruiters for VFW posts statewide, and Lucas anticipates the room will be used to host weddings, non-for-profit get togethers and community meetings. Eventually, the VFW post will hold its regular monthly meetings in the new building.
“It’s pretty rare for a non-profit to run a restaurant. We have a real staff, a professional cook,” Lucas commented. “Some people have this impression of a smokey old VFW lounge with a bunch of old men sharing war stories. We’ve already seen some members return, as well as new or inactive members and transfers. We think the building is helping with that.”
Although the building is operational, Lucas stressed that the Post’s work is far from done. There’s the monthly mortgage payment, operation costs and continued fundraising efforts to support other community service events.
“Any person is welcome." Lucas said. “This is another way people can support veterans, by eating here, it will help our organization.”
For more information about the grand opening event or to check out the menus and hours for the Bunker Bar & Grill, please visit lakevfw.org or vfwbunker.com.