Toby Keith performs at Folsom bar bearing his nameBy: Eyragon Eidam, Telegraph Correspondent
FOLSOM, CA - Country music powerhouse Toby Keith gave his fans another reason to “love this bar” during an appearance at the official grand opening of Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar in Folsom's Palladio at Broadstone shopping center.
The popular singer-songwriter welcomed guests to the location with a meet and greet and special performance Friday afternoon, much to the delight of approximately 300 fans.
Keith said his growing franchise has been successful because of the disappearance of bars for everyday people who like down-home cooking, country music and a cold beer.
“We fill a void. There were several country bars in every town 20 years ago, and now there’s not very many,” Keith told the Telegraph. “We combo’d it up and said let’s bring southern food to people who don’t have southern food, let’s put great adult beverages in a really nice atmosphere, with live country music.”
The successful chain of franchised restaurants and bars exploded after a well-received launch of a Las Vegas flagship location. With 18 restaurants currently open and 11 more under way, the chain continues to expand across the country.
Keith said the idea for the first location came out of the desire to provide American troops a place to enjoy great service, down-home cooking, and atmosphere when they visited the popular city on leave.
“When the military comes back, they visit Vegas. It was a good spot for them to stop and let us treat them,” said Keith. “The thing blew up so big that owner-operators started approaching me.”
After finishing his set, Keith would leave Folsom and head to the Stagecoach music festival in Palm Springs. He would then travel overseas to perform at his 11th USO show in the Philippines, Guam, and Hawaii for the United States Navy.
“It’s kind of weird this year, it’s the first year we haven’t been to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Keith.
For fans like Terry, Lisa, and young Ryan Simpson from Citrus Heights, the opportunity to meet one of their “top three” favorites was one they couldn’t pass up.
The Simpsons met Keith during a short photo-opportunity prior to his live performance and said it was great to bring their son to his first celebrity meet and greet.
“It was a great opportunity to get to meet him today,” said Lisa Simpson. “(We have been fans since) way back when he had his first hit.”
Debbie and Jami Eppler, mother-and-daughter fans from Spring Valley, also took the rare opportunity to see the charismatic performer take the stage at his namesake restaurant and bar.
Debbie Eppler said she became a fan after attending one of Keith’s concerts in the region.
“I’ve been a fan since seeing him at Jackson Rancheria years ago,” said Eppler.