The North Bend Eagle


Name change an honor, legal necessity for Bird

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 8/7/13

When David Bird purchased the Rawhide Steak House from his parents in early 2012, he and his dad, Leroy Bird, knew there would be a few changes.

“(Dad) is a big part of the restaurant,” David Bird said when he assumed ownership of the family business last year. “I looked forward to working with him for years to come.”

Leroy's SteakhouseThe former Rawhide Steak House now opeates under the name Leroy's.

Since that time there have been a few changes the Birds had not foreseen.
In December 2012, Leroy Bird died tragically in a river accident.

While the memory of Leroy lives on in every bite of prime rib or chicken fried steak, David Bird has taken it a step further by renaming the Rawhide in his fathers’s honor. A new sign erected last week invites hungry passers by to stop in and visit Leroy’s Steakhouse.

David Bird said there were some outside influences that also contributed to the name change. A group in Arizona owns the “Rawhide” trademark, and they did not like the North Bend business using the name. They would not allow the Birds to continue using the name without making certain changes, changes that Bird was not comfortable with.

“I have been working with them for over a year without much success,” Bird said. “I even provided evidence that we had used the name since 1978, but that didn’t make much difference.”

Rather than operate under the restrictions the Arizona group dictated, Bird decided to eliminate “Rawhide” altogether.

“This was a very difficult decision,” Bird said, “but it gave me the opportunity to name the restaurant after my father, Leroy. Now that the restaurant is named after him, it makes me feel like he’s still around.”

Bird has made changes to the inside of the building as well. There have been new ceiling panels, tables, booths, flooring, some new lighting, and new decor added. Outside there has been a sprucing up of the front and they have contracted a tree removal and pruning service to clean up the trees between the restaurant and the building to the west. Bird added that they have taken out a permit to add a new vestibule and entrance to the restaurant.

Chef Brian Jurgens, a 1980 graduate of North Bend Central, and his wife Julie manage the day-to-day operations of the restaurant. Under their guidance the menu has been changed slightly, including the addition of vegetarian options, a switch to Coke products, more bar options, and the addition of a larger, less-expensive children’s menu.

“We are always looking for new ideas and considering other options,” Bird said. “We continue to struggle with rising meat prices, as do all restaurants, I’m sure.”

Bird works in Omaha as an accountant and lives in Elkhorn. He has no immediate plans to move back to North Bend, primarily because of his day job. The Jurgens are residents of North Bend.

“I appreciate all the support I received over the past 18 months,” Bird said. “We appreciate all of our loyal customers in North Bend, Morse Bluff, and throughout the area.”

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