A new dining choice in Tracy

TRACY – Saturday marked the opening of Bonnie and Clyde’s Bar and Grill in downtown Tracy, providing Tracy area residents with a new full-service restaurant.

Having worked diligently for the past two months, new owners Betsy and Mike McDonald are thrilled to be opening the doors.

“People are saying that they’ll be stopping in,” Betsy McDonald said. “It’s a small town, but there seems to be a lot of excitement.”

From beginning to end in the new business process, everything seems to have fallen into place for the McDonalds.

“We’d been looking for a place and came to look at this building and decided to make a go of a bar and grill,” Betsy McDonald said. “I’m from Tracy, so I had wanted to move back to this area. This worked out good. I’m excited.”

McDonald said she inspected the property, which is the former historic bank building at the intersection of Third and South Street, in the middle of August and then closed on it at the end of the month.

“It went really fast,” McDonald said. “After we closed on August 31, the guys started remodeling the following week. Everything seems to be lining up nicely.”

Extensive remodeling was done throughout the new business, including painting, replacing carpet with tile, removal of office partitions and much more.

“We pretty much replaced every light bulb in the place,” McDonald said. “We would have liked to have redone all the tile, too, but it just got too expensive, so we just did part of it. We also got rid of the black and white panels. Now they are brown.”

The McDonalds also had repairs done in the kitchen area, including refrigeration units. They also purchased new equipment, such as a pizza oven.

“We did a lot of remodeling,” Betsy McDonald said.

Large photographs of the real Bonnie and Clyde are also scattered throughout the bar and grill, as are a number of original bank safes. The McDonalds also left the original molding and arches intact throughout the building, enhancing the atmosphere with the mixture of old and new dcor.

Bonnie and Clyde’s will open at 11 a.m. seven days a week and will feature both lunch and dinner menus.

“We’re doing specialty burgers, wraps, some steak, some chicken and some shrimp,” Betsy McDonald said. “There’s going to be a pretty good variety. And then we’re going to offer soups, sandwiches, salads and pizza over the noon hour, too.”

Finding the right combination of food items through various food vendors was difficult, McDonald said.

“We worked with a lot of service companies to get the menu together,” she said. “We wanted good meat. Since others in town have broasted chicken, we won’t have that. We’ll have a smothered chicken breast. The menu will probably expand some, too. Our menu is going to change when we learn more what people want.”

Along with the lunch and dinner menus, the restaurant will also offer fried tortilla chips and salsa and a full bar.

“People are excited about having another option for a noon menu,” McDonald said. “We’ll also be able to fill to-go orders.”

Bonnie and Clyde’s has seating for nearly 100, including a private dining room, which seats more than 25. The establishment also has a juke box, dart machine, skee ball game and a claw machine.

The McDonalds had the opportunity to break in the bar and grill a week ago, when they held their own wedding reception there. Luckily, the liquor license and fire certificates arrived in time.

“We were sweating a little,” Betsy McDonald said. “The week before the wedding, we got our liquor license and fire ID card. We got liquor in on Friday, and we got married on Saturday (Oct. 5).”

Bonnie and Clyde’s also had a “soft” opening this past Friday to assist with staff training. Along with the McDonalds, two family members will assist in managing the business.

“My son Keith (Hansen) will be the manger, and Mike’s daughter Shanon (McDonald) is the assistant manager,” Betsy McDonald said. “We’re all kind of managing it together, the four of us. We’ve also hired a few waitresses, bartenders and a couple of cooks, so hopefully we have the right amount of staff.”

While Betsy McDonald will continue working as a hospice nurse out of the Worthington area, Mike McDonald plans to work full time since he is laid off during the winter months.

“I’ll probably do a little bit of everything,” he said. “I’ll fill in wherever I need to. We’re just excited to start serving people.”