There is no luck required for diners searching for a comfort food and fun atmosphere at Benson’s Hard 8 in Union.
The casino-themed downtown Union restaurant opened Monday. It is housed in the same building where Bugsy’s had been located at 201 E. Main St.
Benson’s Hard 8 serves a variety of food, including burgers, sandwiches, pizza and Italian cuisine, as well as down-home comfort food, and is owned by Dee Forshee and Jim Ming.
There also are salads, soups and appetizers on the menu.
The name is a combination of Forshee’s maiden name, Benson, and a craps table reference for two fours on the dice. Ming added that there is more to the name.
“Anyone who attempted the restaurant business knows it is a crap shoot,” he said.
Forshee said many of the meals are inspired by family recipes — the Bensons already have printed one cookbook and another is in the works.
She called the fare “comfort food” and the menu features specials including fried chicken, lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs.
“We have very inexpensive, family-oriented fun meals,” Ming added. “We’re going to have great meals every night and every day.”
The full menu is on the website at www.bensonshard8.com.
Ming noted that the lunch meals will be served quickly to accommodate those working at Union offices.
“Any folks in the uptown area can be assured they will be in and out very fast,” Ming said.
Arynn Martin, the general manager, has many years of experience in the restaurant business, and she has been cooking since the age of 5.
“I have roots in food on both sides of my family,” she said. I grew up in the catering business.”
Benson’s features a full bar, and as an added feature, anyone may take a roll of the dice to try for a hard 8 to get a free drink.
The bar area has been redesigned, and seats about 60 people. There is no longer a large dining room in the rear that was utilized by previous restaurant owners. That area will be office space that is available for rent.
“We are trying to keep everything inexpensive and comfortable,” said Ming. “We feel that people will be happy with the change in atmosphere.”
The restaurant is open Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Benson’s Hard 8 is closed Sundays, unless there is a special sporting event. People can check the restaurant’s Facebook page for more information.
The kitchen will close at 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, but pizzas will be served later.
People may order by phone or fax. The phone number is 636-583-9464, and the fax number is 636-744-1422.
Benson’s has a meeting room available for rent. There also is free wifi and a large parking lot in the back of the building.