HARRISBURG -- One of the co-owners of Harrisburg restaurant PaPaw's Pizza told council members his newest business will include a restaurant along with an electronic gaming area and a bar, and that it will be a safe, quiet atmosphere.
Nathan Hayes, who with his brother James Hayes owns PaPaw's, said he will be opening Jo Jo's Bar and Grill in coming months at 212 E. Sloan St. in the location that formerly housed Spirits Liquors.
At the March 2 Harrisburg City Council meeting, Hayes said he wanted to address the council regarding recent violence.
In early February, a parking lot shooting occurred at Los Amigos, 300 E. Raymond St. No one was injured, but the bar temporarily was shut down that weekend. A couple of nights later, a shooting in which no one was hurt happened on the west side of Harrisburg in a housing project near Harrisburg Township Park. Late in February, a shooting in which three were injured happened on East Dayton Avenue.
During a previous city council meeting, Mayor John McPeek vowed that if the owners of Los Amigos got out of the bar business and gave up their liquor license, another bar would not be permitted at that location.
Hayes' new venture is about four blocks from the Los Amigos location. He said he wanted to assure the council and the public that Jo Jo's will be a safe, secure restaurant and gaming facility.
"This is not going to be a place where any kind of violence or gang activity is going to be tolerated," Hayes, who grew up in Harrisburg, said. "The gaming facility is going to be a place where a person can sit back, relax, enjoy a couple of drinks and play the gaming machines."
Currently, Hayes said he has both a city and state liquor license for the establishment, but that the gaming area has a little work left before he can get approval for the state gaming license. The gaming facility will open first, he said, and then the restaurant will come later.
"We want everything to be perfect," he said.