Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

October 9, 2013

There’s a new star in downtown

For now, it’s a sports grill

By John Austin/features@trcle.com

They’re giving away beer with some of the combo plates at the Blue Star Grill.

That’s because Cleburne’s newest sports bar doesn’t yet have a liquor license.

Owner Roy Martinez hopes to have that straightened out soon. Meanwhile, the new restaurant is open for business in a historic three-story downtown building at 114 E. Chambers St.

It’s open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

In addition to salads, sandwiches and burgers, the Blue Star Grill has Tex-Mex food. To go with the steak, eggs and pancakes at breakfast, there’s a lineup of coffee drinks, including lattes and espresso. 

The coffee bar is up front by the door. There’s also a TV, usually tuned to the news, overhead. 

In back is an ornate, carved bar — not yet in use — and a pair of TVs. 

“We’re vegetarian friendly,” said the cook, Mackenzie Davis. “We have salads, too.” 

Blue Star manager Greg Conatser, said as far as he’s concerned, Cleburne doesn’t have a true sports bar. 

“I don’t really consider them a sports bar,” Conatser said, referring to a couple of chain restaurants with local stores. “I never went to any of those places to watch sports.”

The old brick walls are lined with photos of Dallas Cowboys team members, helmets and other sporting memorabilia. 

The building has housed at least two restaurants previously. Most recently, it was home to the TLC Diner. 

Fred Garza owns the building and said he’ll be a customer. 

Martinez said the previous tenants told him they’d been OK’d for a state liquor license.  

The rule is, your front door has to be 300 feet from the front door of any churches. The front door of the Salvation Army, which has a small chapel, is 284 feet from his, Martinez said. 

Martinez said the TLC owners were greenlighted because the city made a mistake in the distance between the doors. 

He hopes to resolve the license issue. 

Meanwhile, he’s glad to be here, glad to be helping resurrect his side of town and glad to be feeding Cleburne. 

A hard-core sports fan — he named his first son Ryan Landry — Martinez just wants to produce consistent, affordable food. 

“I liken it to a baseball game,” where you’ve got to bunt and hit singles as well as make the big plays, he said. “I’m not swinging for a home run every time.”