Star Bar & Grill in Our Town Fairfax a century-old staple

The Star Bar and Grill has been a staple of the community in Fairfax for more than a century.
Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 9:21 AM CDT
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FAIRFAX, Iowa (KCRG) - One of the oldest places in Our Town Fairfax is the Star Bar & Grill. It’s been a staple of the community for more than a century. It’s believed to have opened just a few decades after Iowa became a state.

Melissa and Travis Otto have owned the Star Bar for 17 years. It was the perfect place for them with their food service experience.

“There were actually three people wanting to buy it, but they picked us because we had the background for it,” said Melissa.

Their employees have also totaled up the years, many there for around a decade.

“They are so good, I’m so lucky to have them, they can do this in their sleep,” said Melissa.

She said the building is similar to what it was in the 1800s. Back then, it was a hotel and livery.

“They say Jesse James stayed here before he robbed the hotel,” said Melissa.

Today, they’re serving up food and drinks.

“We cook our roast, we cook our corned beef, we make our own ranch, we make a lot of our own sauces,” Melissa said.

She said there are also ghost stories brewing, including one about Dennis, a former owner who is rumored to haunt it.

“I always say hi to Dennis every day when I come in,” Melissa said. “If anything happens, I’ll be like ok Dennis, knock it off Dennis. Things fall down, things move, things were there and then not there.”

Randy Schuster is a regular.

“I’ve always liked it here,” he said.

The place is part of the Our Town Fairfax community.

“You make good relationships, and you help each other out,” said Melissa.