Veteran owned, veteran inspired, that’s the message behind Eugene’s Canteen in the Short North.
The bar-restaurant opened its doors on High Street this spring.
While the bar is relatively new, owner Justin Boehme, has been a longtime restaurant owner in the same spot.
“Eugene is my grandfather’s name. Canteen is a military installation where you go and get food and drinks, buy miscellaneous goods,” Boehme said.
He is also an Iraq war veteran himself.
“I would not be the same person if I didn’t join the military,” Boehme said of opening a veteran inspired bar.
Hanging on a wall of the bar is a framed photo of Eugene Boehme, a World War II veteran who passed away when Justin was a young teenager.
“He could not talk about the war. He got too shook up about it,” Boehme said of his grandfather.
He has an open invitation for others to put their photo of a military loved one among the ranks on his Wall of Heroes.
Boehme hopes it pays tribute to their sacrifice and incites conversation an opportunity he never had with his own grandfather.
“I would have loved to hear about what he did and what made him who he was,” Boehme said.
Inside the bar conversations flow freely. Whether or not you have worn a uniform, the bar provides “good food, good message,” patron Alayna Hicks said, adding: “We like that we can come in, sit at the bar and talk to Justin, eat our food and relax.”
This Veteran’s Day, the bar is donating 10 percent of liquor sales and $1 per burger sold to The Mission Continues, a non-profit that helps veterans get back on their feet.
“If they need a support system and a place to hang out, this is that place,” Boehme said.
Boehme adding that the bars main message is one of libations and friendships for all, while also paying tribute to military veterans like his father, who chose to go above and beyond for their country.
“He was a big part of my life and now he is part of my life every day. It’s awesome,” Boehme continued. “He was not a very emotional guy, but I am, Grandpa would be proud.”
You can find Eugene’s Canteen with Preston’s Burgers at 765 N. High St. in the Short North neighborhood of Columbus.