Me & Billy Kitchen and Bar in downtown Davenport is more than a new establishment to the Collins family.
The bar marks the fulfillment of a dream for Fran Maus, one of three Collins sisters undertaking the adventure. With their parents, Bill and Mary Collins, they have become the anchor tenant in the renovation of the United Cigar Building at the corner of 3rd and Main streets.
The nearly 6,000-square-foot restaurant eventually will feature a private dining and party room and a 2,500-square-foot second floor outdoor beer garden, which will be developed later.
But for now, the bar is open.
“We love downtown so that’s where our focus was,” Maus said. “A lot of restaurants in the Quad-Cities have a sports bar vibe, and that’s not something we wanted to do. We want to be a friendly place where anyone can go and have a good time. And we want to serve the kind of food we enjoy eating ourselves.”
The redevelopment is being done by insurance executive Jim Thomson and Big Dog Construction co-owners Shawn Larson and Chris Haber. Thomson said the building dates back to 1916 and over the years has been the home of many retailers and commercial and office tenants. The partners acquired the building under the name United Cigar Building LLC in a nod to the original anchor tenant, United Cigar Stores Co.
Maus said her parents owned Mac's Tavern in downtown Davenport for about 15 years. When she and her husband, Jordan Maus, moved back to the area three years ago, her dream of opening her own place was rekindled.
"Things kept evolving with the business plan until we found the right spot," she said.
Sister Tricia Collins said the name of the bar came from their dad. When he and his brother, Dave, were younger, their parents bought them a rowboat they named Me & Billy.
Tricia said her youngest sister, Sarah, also is heavily involved in the project. Sarah designed the interior she calls "vintage industrial."
"We wanted to gear it toward the young professional," Tricia said.
"Our girls are true entrepeneurs," Mary said. "I guess just living with Bill and I has been a great example for them. We have owned different businesses. They also have the drive. It has been great to watch. They all have been very instrumental across the board. If not for them, Bill and I could not have done this."