By Terry Rogers
Leo Weigand says that he decided to enter the pool hall business after his wife, Sherry, was diagnosed with a serious illness. When the couple learned that Georgetown Billiards was for sale, they decided to purchase the business as it was something Mrs. Weigand had always wanted to do.
“It had the reputation that many pool halls have,” Mr. Weigand says. “Dark, smoky, with guys sitting around smoking and drinking. They would black out the windows and have parties there. At first, I could only serve beer and I wanted to make some changes. Georgetown has a lot of restrictions for what can be done in the historic district and I got frustrated. I attended a town council meeting and pretty much told them how I felt. What I did not know is that Ruth Briggs King, Brian Pettyjohn and the Chief of Police were there. The next day, I got a call that council was holding a special meeting and invited me to attend. The pool hall has operated smoothly ever since and the bad reputation is gone.” Mr. Weigand said that Representative Briggs-King and Senator Pettyjohn, as well as council members and the police chief have written letters in support of his purchase of Longshots in the Riverwalk Shopping Center.
According to Mr. Weigand, under the previous ownership, the bar, which is now known as Milford Billiards, had 77 police calls in just under three years.
“We are trying to change the reputation of the bar,” Mr. Weigand said. “We have painted the whole place and shortened the bar so that we could add more tables. Everything has been cleaned and scrubbed. We have nine-foot tables for professionals and seven-foot tables for local leagues, including American Poolplayers Association (APA), TAP and Billiards Congress of America (BCA). Our goal is to create a high-end pool hall where men and women feel comfortable.” On Saturday, December 17, Milford Billiards hosted the only female-only pool tournament in Delaware, hoping to demonstrate that the bar is a safe place for single women and couples to frequent.
Pool leagues have started to return to Milford Billiards. Mr. Weigand says that on league nights there are often between 60 and 100 people in the bar. He intends to hold pool tournaments and other billiard-related events throughout the year. There will be no live music at the bar, but Mr. Weigand says he may bring in a DJ for special occasions. There is a jukebox for those who want music.
“We are offering food as well,” Mr. Weigand said. “We have partnered with La Ortolana so that our customers can order from their menu, which is available from the bartenders and the food is delivered. The cost of the food is added directly to the customer’s tab at the bar. We are talking to other restaurants in Milford in hopes we can partner with them in a similar fashion to provide our customers with even more food options.”
One thing that Mr. Weigand hopes to do is to give back to the community. As a former paramedic in Caroline County, Mr. Weigand has a strong respect for first responders. He plans to start a local police pool league and has reached out to Chief Kenneth Brown and other chiefs in the area. Each month, the winning department in the pool league will take possession of a traveling trophy. Mr. Weigand says that he hopes it will provide the public with a positive view of police officers. He also hopes that seeing police officers in the establishment, even out of uniform, will encourage more people to come in and witness the changes. There is video surveillance throughout the pool hall and Mr. Weigand checks it frequently to protect customers and to avoid issues that have been a plagued the bar under past ownership.
“My manager, Jacob “Preach” Dent, teaches at the Milford Boys and Girls Club,” Mr. Weigand said. “We are planning fundraisers to support them and we are talking to fire departments about ways we can raise money for the Children’s Burn Camp. We have joined the Chamber and DMI. We are seeing at least two or three new customers each week, so I am hoping that means the word is getting out.” Happy Hour specials are offered between 4 and 6 PM. Starting in the next few weeks, Mr. Weigand says they will be offering a “late night” Happy Hour from 10 to 11 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for those who may work the night shift and want to stop in for a drink on the way home.
As a thank you for the warm welcome they have received in Milford, from December 15 through January 1, pool time, which is normally $5.75 per hour per person, has been lowered to $3 per hour per person. The pool hall will be open on New Year’s Eve as well, with drink specials, appetizers and snacks. The jukebox will be free all night. Mr. Weigand asks anyone who wants to join them on New Year’s Eve to call the bar so they can be prepared.
Pool Leagues are forming and anyone interested can stop in to talk to the bartenders or call for more information. Mr. Dent also offers free pool lessons to anyone who wants to learn how to play. He has taught billiards at the college level and while in the Marines. Table time is not included in the lesson and interested students should call to make an appointment. Because Milford Billiards does not have a restaurant license, you must be 21 to enter the establishment.
To arrange for pool lessons, make a reservation for New Year’s Eve or learn more about Milford Billiards, call 302-858-6555.
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