This Huntington gun range also serves up high-caliber diner food.
When Billy Bare decided to pull the trigger and open his second indoor gun range in Huntington, he noticed something about his customers. His clientele—mostly local military personnel and police officers—were bringing takeout with them to practice.
Sighting an opportunity, Bare and his wife, Christy, opened Bombshells Burgers and BBQ, a World War II-themed restaurant, inside their Bare Arms Gun Range. “People will come out and make a date night or an evening out of it,” Christy Bare says. ”It’s very good entertainment and something we don’t have around here.”
An Army and Air Force veteran himself, Billy Bare wanted the restaurant to pay tribute to veterans. He’s paired diner decor with bombshell nose art from the World War II era, and the restaurant makes a point to recognize veterans when they visit. “We have a lot of things and memorabilia that honor (WWII veteran and Medal of Honor recipient) Woody Williams, and he comes and eats at our restaurant all the time,” Christy Bare says.
Christy, who worked as a nurse for more than 18 years, has little experience with firearms. But that didn’t stop her from leaving health care to help create the menu and run the food side of the Bare family business. “We smoke all of our meats in-house,” she says. “Every night, the smoker is piled with fresh meat. Nothing we have is frozen. We have fresh beef for hamburgers. We have ribs, we have brisket, we have pulled pork.”
Bombshells is also known for its pizza—“Any kind of specialty pizza you can imagine,” Christy Bare says—as well as its loaded appetizers. The diner serves heaps of french fries as well as nachos topped with slow-smoked pulled pork, white queso blanco, green onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, and Aunt Connie’s coleslaw. Each portion is drizzled with barbecue sauce and served with a side of ranch dressing.
The restaurant is now as popular as the gun range which, as a result, has brought new customers to that side of the business as well. “We have people who come in all the time who would probably never go into a gun store to look for a gun, but then when they come in and they see people shooting guns on camera, they see that it can be a fun sport. They see that it doesn’t have to be scary, and you can have a fun evening shooting,” Christy Bare says.
Billy Bare opened his first climate-controlled gun range near his home in Kentucky as a way to fill free time following his 2016 retirement from the Ashland Police Department. But he doesn’t see shooting only as a form of entertainment. “A lot of people own guns but they never shoot guns. They never train, they never practice. So I wanted to get people out and shooting,” says Bare, who is an expert marksman, police firearms range master, and National Rifle Association instructor. He also wanted to create a range accessible to people like his father, who is getting older and has difficulty accessing outdoor gun ranges.
Customers can rent lanes and a variety of guns at an hourly rate. Bare Arms also offers annual memberships, hosts a variety of shooting leagues for all ages, and often holds special events including ladies’ nights and date nights.
Christy Bare says the range and restaurant try to take special care with new shooters. “Our perfect customer is someone who comes in the door and has never shot a gun,” she says. “We can take them in and show them the parts of the gun, show them how the gun works, give them a concealed carry class, and when they leave, they feel like they can protect themselves if they ever needed to use it.”
written by Jess Gardner