Eddie Montgomery Opens New Restaurant With Grand Event
Eddie Montgomery's Steakhouse, in Harrodsburg, Ky., was filled with much love Tuesday night (September 14) as the country singer and half of the duo Montgomery Gentry celebrated the grand opening of the venue with a benefit for Montgomery's Camp Horsin' Around.
The log cabin-style restaurant was packed with friends, neighbors and VIPs for the special event, and Eddie did not disappoint. He brought out a stellar lineup of fellow country crooners for the evening's festivities, including Craig Morgan, Billy Dean, Colt Ford, Ira Dean, Lucas Hoge and The Roys, who all helped christen the venue with their music.
Eddie and his wife Traci emceed the evening, which stretched into the early hours of the morning. When asked what his dad, who was a well-known entertainer in Kentucky, would have thought of the new club, Eddie said, "He would have been right on that stage. He would have said, 'We're not closing this place at 1:00 AM; we'll close this place down when I say we're closing!'"
"It's awesome," gushed Colt Ford. "I can be here because Eddie and I are friends, and when I get a call from a friend who asks me to do something, it's an honor to show up and help them out."
"I've been in on this charity from the get-go," boasted former Trick Pony bassist, singer/songwriter Ira Dean. "Eddie is one of my best friends and he and I have this unwritten rule that if the phone rings, we're there to help each other."
Billy Dean flew in after performing in Alabama that same night, and the Roys stopped by after a date in Wisconsin. "We didn't even know we were going to perform until we walked in the door," Lee Roy said. "This is a great venue for Eddie's hometown, and it's wonderful he has such support from his community."
"We're all busy but it's great to be able to do an event like this with our friends," said Craig Morgan, who had just returned from Switzerland, where he performed at Country Fest in Gstaad. "We don't get to see each other very much when we're on the road so it gives us a chance to catch up and help out a worthy cause."
The log cabin structure houses a restaurant, club and bar. Should there be any doubt whose place it is, customers need only look at the walls, where pictures of Eddie and singing partner Troy Gentry hang, as well as numerous neon signs sporting Eddie's name. Upstairs in the balcony, there are two huge lighted black guitars, and several of the neon signs sport musical shapes. The restaurant has a large fireplace, while the bar area has floor-to-ceiling windows. The stage is large enough for a band to perform comfortably and sound system and lighting equipment are top-of-the-line. Customers can view the stage on various monitors placed throughout the 20,000-square-foot facility.
"There is so much talent in Kentucky, that we wanted to have a place for those in this area to perform," Eddie told The Boot of his reason for including a club in the restaurant. "We have a jam night and karaoke night. I think when you are born here, you have music in your blood."
Eddie went on to say that having the club had long been a dream of his. "The great thing about living in America is if you have a dream you can go after it," he said, adding, "I can't say enough about my friends who took the time to come and be here tonight. This is a heavy touring time for all of us, and I'm very grateful for everyone who helped out. In the end, it's all about the kids and what we do for them."
Camp Horsin' Around runs on donations. The purpose of the camp is to give kids who have long hospital stays a chance to get away from that atmosphere and have a fun experience outdoors. There are already cabins on site, and long-term plans call for a helicopter pad and swimming pool, and eventually services so that the kids can spend the night.
"It gets these kids out of the hospital and lets them hang out at the camp instead of in a sterile hospital," Eddie explained. "They get to look out on a farm and be at camp, and just get to be normal kids. Our goal is that we're gonna have fully staffed doctors and nurses, and the helipad will enable us to fly them out in case of emergency. It's always been dear to my heart to have a place like this and it's a great honor for me to be a part of it."
One of the reasons Eddie built the venue was to provide a much-needed boost to the economy around his hometown of Harrodsburg. "Our area has been hard hit. When I started planning it, the economy was OK. So at the time, it didn't really come to mind, but when they brought it up, we have about 200 employees working there, so it's great to be able to do everything I can do for my community and make it better. I love my hometown and I love Kentucky, which is why I've never moved to Nashville. There's just nothing like living here. I say to get to heaven you've got to go through Kentucky! My daddy taught me to do anything I can to help my community, so hopefully we are doing that with this restaurant and club."
Early in the evening, Eddie performed Montgomery Gentry's hit single, 'Lucky Man.' It was obvious from the turnout of patrons and friends that Eddie is indeed living out that song.