Sharky’s ready to test the waters

Sharky's, a Fort Scott restaurant and bar, will open its Iola location on Monday. Installation and supply chain issues delayed the opening, which was originally planned for June.

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August 12, 2022 - 2:09 PM

Sharky’s owner David Lipe says the Iola location will open for business Monday. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

After lengthy delays — too many, in David Lipe’s opinion — Sharky’s will open its doors Monday.

“Ready or not, we’re opening,” Lipe said.

Lipe’s initial plan was to open Sharky’s at 112 S. Washington Ave. in Iola in early June, to coincide with the 11th anniversary of his Fort Scott Sharky’s.

But installation and supply chain issues, particularly for the restaurant’s walk-in coolers, prevented the early opening.

When that hurdle finally was cleared in late July, it was full-steam ahead.

Lipe has hired and trained a full cook and wait staff — roughly 25 employees, including an army of part-timers — to keep things running smoothly from Day 1.

“For sure, we’ve been behind schedule, which is unfortunate, but we’re ready to go now,” he said.

Lipe plans to instill an atmosphere similar to what he has established in Fort Scott as well as at another Sharky’s in Nevada, Mo.

“One of our mottos is friends and family first,” Lipe said. “We are definitely a family restaurant.”

It’s a family restaurant that includes a sports bar environment as well. Nine large-screen televisions fill both the front and rear dining areas. The bar offers a full selection of beers on draft as well.

The menu, Lipe noted, “is all over the place.”

And that’s a good thing.

Sharky’s offers everything from salads and tacos to steak and hamburgers. Plus, he’ll offer seafood dishes — after all, it is named Sharky’s and carries a distinct marine-based aesthetic — and a full selection of appetizers.

“We’re really well-versed in American fare,” Lipe said. “All of the recipes are mine that I’ve either created or gathered through the years.”

Visitors will note the replica hammerhead shark and marlin models hanging from the front dining wall. And a large great white shark replica will hang from the ceiling.

LIPE IS A Fort Scott native well-versed in the restaurant and bar business, having worked in Irish pubs for years before opening Sharky’s in Fort Scott.

“I wish there was a better story to it,” he said. “A friend of mine has a sports bar in Lee’s Summit, Mo.” — named Sharkeez — a name that appealed to Lipe.

He received permission to copy the name with a more traditional spelling and opened in Fort Scott in 2011. The Nevada location opened five years later.

“I wanted a tropical flair with an Irish touch,” Lipe said. “That’s where I cut my teeth.”

Eventually, Sharky’s will offer catering for the recently remodeled event center next door, The 110 Lounge. Lipe hopes to use it as a space for private  parties.

Sharky’s will open at 11 a.m., seven days a week.

“We’ll see how business goes as to how late we’ll stay open each day,” he said. “We’ll play it by ear.”

Lipe has been eager to expand to Iola for years and was connected to a proposed Sleep Inn hotel project near the U.S. 169 bypass on the east side of town.

But the hotel project eventually fell apart, and wasn’t broached again, after construction was delayed due to highway reconstruction projects that began between Iola and Chanute.

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected for the spelling of owner David Lipe’s name.

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