With a goal to own and operate the best local sports and entertainment bar, two friends have banded together to create Rivals Sports Bar and Grill.

The new restaurant is under construction in a corner building at Seventh Avenue and Husband Street. The top floor of the bi-level eatery is slated to open Friday, the downstairs level by December.

Upon completion, the split-level restaurant will be the location for about 50 TVs tuned to sports events, pool tables, poker, darts, Golden Tee gaming and other sports-oriented entertainment and activities including live music.

Though it is currently top-secret, co-owners Jason Koss and Perry promise the eatery will offer a unique and exclusive feature to distinguish it statewide.

“It’s going to turn heads,” Perry said.

He and Koss said they have both worked in, opened and operated numerous restaurants and bars. Rivals will be the first food establishment either has owned.

“We are huge sports fans. We wanted to fill a niche not yet available here,” Perry said.

All items will have a rotating sports rivalry theme including the Bedlam Battles between Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma and the New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox, Perry said. Koss added that highlighted sports will include football, basketball, baseball, mixed martial arts fighting and soccer.

Perry’s background is in law enforcement and government. Koss has a history in marketing and advertising. Both played multiple sports throughout school and in college; neither was daunted by the reality of running a restaurant.

“It’s all our dollars going into this,” Perry said.

Already prone to working 18-hour days, he said, “If you see us up here working at 1 a.m., it’s because we are hands on owners ... Rivals is not some big corporation.”

Initially the restaurant was to be about 4,000 square feet. When 12,000 square feet came available in the space once occupied by Aggie’s Big House, the duo said they thoroughly considered the expanded risk after speaking with family and other business owners.

“Our budget and expenses tripled,” Koss said.

Before it closed, he added, Aggie’s was to provide food for Rivals.

“That threw us for a loop but we made it work,” he said.

The impact of a new business downtown is hard to measure, Stillwater Business Improvement District Coordinator Angela McLaughlin said. One new business is so meaningful in how much it generates, she said, and as the city continues to grow, it is looking to attract the healthy retail competition of more shopping, dining and entertainment venues.

It is important the restaurant benefit the community, Perry said.

“We love Stillwater ... Some of the people still coaching here are legends,” he added.

The alimentary aim of Rivals is for all food to go from kitchen to table in minutes and at a great price, Koss said. Up to 10 types of burgers will be available along with sandwiches, salads, appetizers, Chicago-style hot-dogs, signature specials and more, Koss said.

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