A self-proclaimed "lifetime ago," Bruce and Debra Corrigan were "stuck" in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she was working as the art director for Corpus Christi Magazine and he was working in radio. But what they really wanted to do was open a bar.
With nothing but an idea, Debra starting running advertisements for their imaginary pub in the magazine, eventually finding silent partners to fund the business. They also found an old brownstone building and spent $600,000 renovating it into the type of bar Bruce had grown up with in the Midwest. The building even won an award from the Historical Society. That’s how O’Shucks was born.
But just as soon as it took its first breath, it almost died.
After realizing the Corrigans had a good thing going, their partners stopped wanting to be silent. Debra said the partners told the couple the business wasn’t theirs any longer and that, since they had paid for everything, she and Bruce could not prove the business was theirs.
The partners won the battle, but they lost the war they forgot about the ads.
Because the Corrigans had the idea and advertised for it before they met the partners, Bruce and Debra were able to keep their logo and their business idea. By the time the partners got another bar up and running, word had gotten out and their plan flopped.
The pair later moved to Salt Lake to follow a job offer for Bruce at a radio station. Once their first two sons came along, however, they realized they needed something else, and O’Shucks opened in Park City.
Bruce said they wanted the business to be the first on Main Street to be open seven days a week.
"It’s been12 years now and O’Shucks has never had a day off," he said.
One time it was close. There was a fire in the morning and it had to be shut down before they ever opened.
"But it was locals night that night, so a ton of people came out to help get us going again," Bruce said. "We were serving drinks again by 5 p.m."
Bruce left radio "once the telecom bill passed that allowed all the Clear Channels to come in and take everything over. I just got out," he said. They opened another O’Shucks in downtown Salt Lake City, but the business-like clientele didn’t bring them the success they wanted.
So, after the Olympics, Debra pushed to split the Salt Lake bar into half bar, half sushi restaurant and Aah Sushi was born.
"It was a better match for the area," Bruce said. "There were all these suits downtown and they liked it."
"It’s a fun mix," she said. "Bruce is Irish and really proud of it, and I’m half Japanese and also very proud of my heritage. I grew-up on sushi."
Although they wanted to expand to a third store, they couldn’t find a building in the right location at the right price. Eventually, they found Quarry Village and into the world came O’Shucks III.
The bar is downstairs, complete with a stage for live music, rock on the radio, pool tables and shuffleboard.
Growing-up south of Minneapolis, Bruce said everyone learned to play pool from their fathers or uncles taking them to a tavern, but there wasn’t any place like that in Park City.
"If you wanted to teach your kids to shoot pool, unless you have a table in your house, good luck," he said. "There are no public places with open pool tables in the county."
Bruce designed the bar to be a family place, like in the Midwest. There is even root beer on tap.
"It’s all about having a good time, hanging out and having fun," Bruce said. "Beer and peanuts is good, but beer, peanuts and the right tunes is epic."
Aah Sushi, which is upstairs at the Quarry Village establishment, serves everything from teriyaki salmon or beef to traditional sushi items like spring rolls and sashimi. They have open tables, booths and five tatami rooms of varying sizes.
Even on a brief stop into the bar, many customers say hearing a story from Bruce or Debra is the highlight.
There’s the one about how they met, both ski bums in Sun Valley, Idaho. Or the one about their old 1961 Chrysler Newport Wagon they would drive to get back to Sun Valley after they were married.
Or even the stories about how their three children got their names: Jack, their first son, got his name because of their stay in Jackson, Wyo., got "cut short;" Bennett, their second son, got his name after the couple took a trip to Bennett, Idaho ("population two"), for a concert on July 4, 1981; and Wilson, their youngest, got his name because when they left Jackson, Wyo., they went straight to Wilson, Wyo.
Even though the restaurant and bar bring in varying people, everyone says the same thing at closing time O’Shucks.
O’Shucks and Aah Sushi are open seven days a week, with O’Shucks open from noon to midnight and Aah Sushi open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
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