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The new "joint" is called Funky's Arcade Bar and is located at 315 Lynn St., right next to the old Smith Seeds building, which now houses loft apartments. The location is several blocks west of busy Craghead Street and fits perfectly with the rest of the burgeoning downtown area. 

  It looks like the downtown Danville River District now has what has been sorely needed and certainly wanted: an East Coast style bar with great food, high-end beverages, and plenty of exciting computer games. 

  The new “joint” is called Funky’s Arcade Bar and is located at 315 Lynn St., right next to the old Smith Seeds building, which now houses loft apartments. The location is several blocks west of busy Craghead Street and fits perfectly with the rest of the burgeoning downtown area.

  Funky’s is owned by husband-and-wife team, John and Cristina Grothe, who are also owners of the sensational new “wing” place, 716 Wings, on Piney Forest Road. (716 is the area code for Buffalo, New York).

  If there needs to be any qualifying about their restaurants’ east-coast roots, Cristina is from Buffalo, New York, and John was born in Waterbury, Connecticut. That’s about as east coast as it gets.

  “We opened up 716 Wings on Jan. 23, 2019 and our menu items differ from other restaurants: our wings are fresh, never frozen, and they are locally sourced from local farms. Our wings are not breaded and many of our recipes came from Buffalo, New York, where I’m originally from,” says Cristina.

  “We make all our own sauces. Many of them have a base that we start with and we tweak our ingredients to go off from there.  Everything that we have here is fresh-made and that includes our pizza dough,” she adds.

Their choice of location for Funky’s was a matter of timing and opened in December 2021. The Grothe’s had been looking for a building that could hold a large bar/restaurant. In Danville, bars, by themselves, are not allowed so the Grothe’s had to make Funky’s, “foremost, a restaurant” and the bar is the second part. The arcade portion of it is the third block of the business model.

  “We’ve got a full liquor license, but you cannot solely have a bar.   A certain portion of your proceeds have to be food-related, and the food needs to be made on site,” explains Cristina. In other words, bars can’t be just for drinking alcohol.

  Looking over Funky’s extensive menu can make stomachs growl and mouths water. The four-page extravaganza starts out with a list of house salads, featuring a delicious Greek salad with a feta-cheese dressing on all the fresh veggies. There are a variety of different fresh beef burgers with choices of toppings and condiments.  The most intriguing burger would have to be the Funky Jerk Burger with pepper-jack cheese, grilled pineapple, red onions and a slightly spicy Jamaican jerk sauce.

  Since the Grothe’s own the restaurant, there is plenty of culinary freedom to create and chose what they want to serve. Weekly chef special’s keep the kitchen staff creative.  

  The “munchie list” is extensive and features the ever-popular jalapeno poppers, fried pickles and fried ravioli’s.  What could go better with ice-cold beer? And yes, there are several selections of fresh nacho combinations so some patrons can stay in a comfort zone.

  Browsing the “Build Your Own Pizza” page, there are dozens of different combinations waiting for culinary adventure seekers, and the house specials, “Buffalo Chicken Pizza” and “White Philly Steak Pizza,” sound delicious too.  Fresh pizza dough rules their ovens.

  The restaurant bar selection brings some cool choices such as “Funky Mojito,” “Bong Water” (like a Long Island ice-tea), and the flagship cocktail, “Funky Monkey,” which is a tropical fruit and rum specialty.  There are also soft drinks and fruit juice available.

  “Funky’s is such a new concept to Danville that people don’t really know what they’re getting themselves into when they come in here, and we’ve been pretty well wide-open already.  Some people may be surprised at the high level of energy, but we’ll be helping them through it. Funky’s is certainly a completely different concept than Buffalo Wild Wings and a completely different crowd,” laughs Cristina.

  “For our games and all our electronic technology we went through a company, #1 Amusements, in Greensboro before we even started construction.  We brought them in and said, ‘Look, this is what we want to do and tell us if you think it’s a good idea. We can start off with some recommendations and see if it works and we’ll see what doesn’t and that’s how we ended up with our gaming selections.”

  What sets “Funky’s” apart from the other wing places and amusement arcades?

  John says, “We have better food, and we have a huge selection of craft beer and a huge selection of domestic beers. The other places like Buffalo’s, Kickbacks, Olive Garden and Outback’s Steak House have domestic beers, but they only have four or five craft beers.”

  “For us, we have a well-rounded selection of craft and domestic beers that the other places don’t because they are corporate-based and can’t compete or chose not to compete with us.  Since they are a corporation, their decision-making on product change takes too long and involves too much discussion and negotiating,” says John Grothe.

  The nice thing about Funky’s is that they maintain anywhere from 150 to 180 different beers.  To keep their customers interested with new beer selections, the Grothes allow their vendors access to any empty slots open in the cooler/ beer rack, if they are pushing a new beer, they go ahead and stock it and see if the customers like it.

  “We’re working on opening up a comedy club here and a music venue, and plan on having real East Coast grinders (subs or poor boy sandwiches) around here. I’ve got a vendor who can get me that great Costanzo bread from Buffalo and ship it over night for our grinders. That way we could have the same delicious taste as the deli-sandwiches in Waterbury, Connecticut or western New York.”

  And the Grothe’s may have the hard-to-find delicious Italian bologna, mortadella, on hand and available for their up-and-coming line of East-Coast grinders, too. They also mentioned they could be adding fresh calzones (stuffed Italian pizza turnovers) to their menu. Pulled hot out of the oven, oozing ricotta cheese, dipped in hot, garlicky marinara, it is the Holy Grail of the East Coast pizzerias.

  Stay tuned.

Funky’s Arcade Bar

Kristina and John Grothe

315 Lynn St. Suite B

Danville, Va. 24541


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