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Two years strong

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FIVE DECADES: Club 14 has been a Miami County staple for over five decades, a fact customers can see painted on the building.
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CHILLIN & GRILLIN: Club 14 owners, Tracy and Denise Yater, joke around with some of their regular customers during lunch on Wednesday.

BY Paige Conley - pconley@perutribune.com

While Club 14 has been a Miami County staple for over five decades, Nov. 23 marks the two-year anniversary the business has been under the ownership of Tracy and Denise Yater.

The Peru natives purchased the business on April 1, 2016 where it had functioned as a bar since 1968 and, in just eight months, turned it into a bar and grill with more emphasis on the food.

According to Tracy, in those eight months he and Denise had to completely remodel the building and make some imperative changes including taking the bar from smoking to non-smoking.

“We tore it completely apart and redone everything,” Tracy said.

The refurbishment included the walls, bathroom and installing a kitchen because there had never been one in the building before, but was necessary for their vision.

Even though the couple had no prior experience in the food industry, with Denise having worked at Peru Federal for 38 years and Tracy working as a truck driver, they were able to make the business a success with the help of their family and friends.

“We’ve had a lot of help doing this with the remodel,” Tracy said. “It was all done by family and friends.”

Since then, the business has taken off to include a new outside seating area for the overflow of customers they receive, as well as a catering service.

It’s been about a year since Club 14 began offering catering, but it’s already taken off as they cater many events around Miami County.

“Weddings, birthdays, retirement, graduation, chamber events,” Denise said. “Factories, when they’re having inventory and stuff.”

They’ve even catered events as large as 200 people and have slowly, but surely made their way through the learning process with the support of the community.

“The community has been really good to us so we’ve got great clientele coming in here and eating,” Tracy said. “The outer community, too, there’s a lot of people that come from out of town.”

The business has seen individuals from surrounding areas including Wabash, Logansport, Rochester and Kokomo as well as from out of state including North Carolina and Minnesota.

One way the Yaters are able to keep track of this is through the dry erase boards they leave in the bathrooms where customers are welcome to write about their visit and occasionally leave where they’re from.

This is just one aspect of the business that keeps them unique and connected to their customers as well as aware of their customers needs.

The Yaters are also all about keeping tradition alive in their business from the local memorabilia adorning their walls to their recipes.

According to Tracy, they’ve managed to get their hands on recipes from former businesses that are no longer in existence including the red dressing from Paramount Bar and a pizza recipe from Birdy’s Tavern which used to be in Bunker’s Hill.

“We’re trying to incorporate things that’s been in Miami County,” Tracy said.

In addition to the building changes, the business has expanded their menu to include the aforementioned recipes, smoked ribs, broasted chicken and many other savory entrees.

While the Yaters put much of their time into making Club 14 a well-rounded establishment, they also spend a lot of time within the community whether that be participating in Second Saturday, catering or attending and donating to local benefits in the community.

“We try to stay involved in the community,” Tracy said.

They are also known to host yearly events including Thanksgiving dinner which will be taking place Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. until the food is gone.

Individuals interested in attending can show up or call ahead to make reservations.

With their two-year anniversary approaching in just a few weeks, the Yaters plan to eventually add on to the building to accommodate their growing customer base.

Club 14 is located at 115 S. Broadway St. and is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and closed on Sunday.