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After 30 years, Scoreboard Pub prepares for new owners
Scoreboard Pub, which has been a fixture in Federal Way for the past 30 years, will be changing hands and changing its name.
The Scoreboard, located at 1200 S. 324th St., was founded in 1982 by Ron Zaffino and Steve Hanson, and was one of the first sports bars in Federal Way.
Over the years, the Scoreboard has employed local residents and students while retaining a philosophy of purchasing locally as often as possible.
The new management intends to continue with this tradition. The buyers of Scoreboard Pub include local residents Jason Bosshart, Rob Sides of R.E. Sides Landscaping, and Janae Webb, an administrator at Salty’s at Redondo.
Zaffino and Hanson both grew up in Federal Way and attended Federal Way High School. Webb and Sides also grew up in Federal Way, while Bosshart hails from Kent.
“Rob, Jason and Janae are about as smart as it comes and their goal is to carry on with the Scoreboard's standards of excellence,” Zaffino said.
While Bosshart and Webb have had careers in the service industry, Sides comes in on the business part. Bosshart said that they were already looking to open a place of their own when the idea of buying the Scoreboard became a reality.
“We’re just local people that grew up in this area and are taking over a place that we’ve been going to for the last 16 to 17 years,” Sides said. “We have fantastic memories there.”
“It’s a place that we love,” Webb said. “It’s been a neat last 6 to 7 months, and it’s going to be an exciting next 40 years.”
The decision to sell the pub came to Zaffino after a visit to Salty’s at Redondo.
“I stopped by Salty's to see if their chowder was as good as ours and to see if their Irish Whiskey tasted just like ours,” Zaffino said. He began chatting with Bosshart, Salty's head bartender, who mentioned an interest in buying the Scoreboard if Zaffino decided to sell.
“Well, that meant we had to schedule a round of golf,” Zaffino said. “A couple of rounds of golf later and we'd gotten serious regarding an acquisition that is comfortable for both parties.”
Zaffino said that the Scoreboard has weathered the economic onslaught thanks to loyal patrons, a loyal staff and zero debt. Zaffino said that this group of buyers would be as close to perfect as could be arranged.
Bosshart said the management of Scoreboard has been actively helping them transition into their new roles as owners.
“We talk to them daily. They’ve been walking us through everything it takes to run Scoreboard, and not many people would do that,” Bosshart said. “(Zaffino has) made it his personal goal to see that we are successful.”
Aside from carrying on the Scoreboard tradition, the new owners want to expand and add a few features of their own.
Scoreboard Pub’s name will be changed to R-Jay’s Scoreboard, which reflects the names of the three new owners. Scoreboard will also remain open until 1 a.m. daily.
The extended late hours are aimed at attracting industry people, people who work late, and people who don’t generally go to sports bars, Bosshart said.
Bosshart said the menus will retain the best-selling and classic Scoreboard dishes. Sides said they want to take above-average bar food and combine it with fine dining service.
“Just because it’s a sports bar does not mean we can’t be giving people that same treatment you’d be getting in fine dining,” Sides said. “People want to go spend money and they deserve to be treated well.”
The new management will also add more TVs and redecorate parts of the bar. Some plans include redecorating the back pool area. There are currently four pool tables, which they would take down to two, and replace with couches and love seats and, of course, more TVs.
“We really want that to be an area where people go and watch games. It can hold 16 to 18 people,” Sides said.
Zaffino relinquishes his ownership with mixed feelings. Zaffino will be 64 in January and plans to retire.
“I've had the dream job. And it wasn't about the money because, contrary to the belief some people have invented for themselves, the money was just OK,” Zaffino said. “The job was never boring, often challenging and often, very often, very funny because there's a lot of funny people in our community. It has been extremely easy to go to work every day.”
The changing of hands is intended to cause as little disruption as possible, with Scoreboard remaining open during the transition.
There will be a “Passing on the Pub” ceremony on Jan. 5. The grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 11.
The grand opening will be one giant party, Sides said. The event will feature a party tent, a mojito bar, a beer garden and live music.
“It’s going to be a real good time,” he said.
Ron Zaffino sent the following message to The Mirror:
Over the years the Scoreboard has been the beneficiary of career minded individuals that provided more than a small amount of success for the Scoreboard. Lisa Tisdel (30 years), Shawnee Berger (20-plus years), Tami Strohm (20-plus years) and Gina Abate (10-plus years) are just a few of the long-term staff members that have graced the Scoreboard's staff and have been responsible for most of the Scoreboard's successes. The Scoreboard would not have been the same place without these people. It is not often that a small business has the opportunity to retain such a talented group.