CLEAR BROOK — Once he took a look at the old woolen mill, Dan Myers said he was “going to fit Paladin into this building one way or another.”
Paladin Bar & Grill, on Warrior Drive in Stephens City, is one of three restaurants owned by Myers, William Waybourn and Craig Spaulding. They also own Front Porch Market & Grill in The Plains. Their latest venture is Paladin 2, also known as p2@Woolen Mill, at 3416 Martinsburg Pike (U.S. 11) in Clear Brook.
Myers said he just had a “good feeling” about the building and visited it with his partners “on a whim.”
“I’m not afraid to take risks,” he said. “None of us are.”
The plan from the beginning was to make the Clear Brook restaurant an extension of the Stephens City location, Myers said.
That included replicating Paladin the Bull — a metal sculpture that stands in front of the restaurant's Stephens City location. The bull in front of P2 is bright green.
Both Paladins have the same menu, from the loaded deviled eggs appetizer and the Brunswick stew to the bourbon and Coke meatloaf and craft beer selections.
“We’re on year three now in Stephens City, so we’ve figured out that menu,” Myers said. “I’m very proud of that menu. It has a little something for everybody. It’s good food, and we make it.”
The menu includes appetizers, sliders, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, entrees, steaks, skillet meals and kids' meals.
As for the look of P2, Myers said crews worked for over a year to modernize the building throughout.
The restaurant still has the original hand-cut roof support timbers that were in the mill. In the front of the restaurant, colorful faux deer heads line the walls to give the bar area a different feel, while movie posters line the walls near seating in the front. In the back hallway, original photography of the partners' properties have found a home. A back room features a bright atmosphere created when more windows were added to the space. A back patio is available for outdoor seating.
Getting the new restaurant ready wasn't without its struggles. Myers said the partners signed on to start the project in March of 2020, then had to put it on hold. Issues with COVID-19 and supply chains held things up, including waiting eight months for new windows to arrive.
“We were supposed to have it open in November of last year. And we didn’t open until September of this year. I finally just said, ‘We have to open,’” Myers said. “We didn’t have the staff, so I kept dragging my feet because I was worried. When we opened Paladin in Stephens City, we had 18 people in the kitchen. We opened here with four.”
Myers said he’s been filling in doing dishes, cleaning bathrooms and even working bar shifts.
Most of the staff has been with Myers for a few years now, and many work at all three restaurants. In an effort to not burn out the staff, Myers said he likely won’t go back to being open seven days a week at any of the restaurants.
Seeing P2's doors open and patrons filling the seats helps to make it all worthwhile, Myers said — even if it’s stressful.
“It’s the most nerve-racking experience in your life to open a restaurant, because you’re thinking, ‘What have I forgotten?’ But this has gone pretty smooth,” he said. “We ripped the training wheels off pretty quick here.”
The restaurant is managed by Jen Combs while the kitchen is run by executive chef Jason Vol Moll and sous chef Trey Mills. The three spend time at all three restaurants.
Now that P2 is open, Myers said he and the partners have created a website, bullontherun.net, where all of their business information can be found. The website includes information on both Paladin restaurants, Front Porch Market & Grill in The Plains, both Salon Kelektiv hair salons and a new towing company called No Bull Towing.
Myers said there are always plans to keep growing the brand.
“I’m going to have bulls all over Frederick County,” he said.
P2's hours are 4-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday, and 4-10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-208-2855.