Father-son duo opens The Chow Hall, an oven-baked sub shop at VFW Post 4265 | CraigDailyPress.com
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Father-son duo opens The Chow Hall, an oven-baked sub shop at VFW Post 4265

Bobby and John-Paul Howard are embarking on a new restaurant adventure in Craig

John-Paul Howard (left) and Bobby Howard sit inside The Chow Hall, a new oven-baked sub shop inside VFW Post 4265.
Joshua Carney / Craig Press

While living and working in Alabama more than 20 years ago, Bobby Howard remembers fondly an oven-baked sub shop that made some of the best subs around, not just in the Yellowhammer state, but the entire corner of the southeastern United States.

Seeing the now-defunct Subzone expand into a corporate entity throughout the southeastern United States gave Howard, who worked with the founders of Subzone while in marketing, some inspiration for later in life.

While in Pagosa Springs shortly before moving to Moffat County and opening up The Chuck Wagon, Howard wanted to do his own version of Subzone featuring pizza and subs. Seeing the amount of pizza shops in Craig turned him off from the pizza portion of that idea though, allowing him to focus solely on oven-baked subs.

The Howards were able to see their idea come to life in the dining hall of VFW Post 4265 along W. Victory Way, calling it The Chow Hall in an ode to veterans. Bobby is a Navy veteran.

The Chow Hall had a soft open on Saturday, Sept. 12. Since then the new sub shop in town has seen business pick up thanks to word-of-mouth around town and on social media.

“It’s been great,” John-Paul Howard said. “I wasn’t expecting that much of a positive response so quickly. We had a very slow opening on the first couple of days, but then it really took off.”

According to John-Paul, the restaurant really didn’t have much of a Facebook page in the beginning, so it was hard to get information out. However, in a small community like Craig, word-of-mouth went a long way, leading to an uptick in business.

“It’s just took off that way,” John-Paul said. “It’s been great; I wish it took off like that every day. But it’s just great to see people talking positively on Facebook. There’s a lot of negative things going on in this world at the moment, so to have so many people find something they enjoy….that makes it nicer.”

It can be a big challenge to open a restaurant in a small town. Opening one in the middle of a global pandemic presents another challenge that nobody can prepare for. To hear the Howards talk, the only real challenge they’ve faced with the new restaurant has been the building of the website.

“Me and my dad, we’re not tech-savvy guys, so that’s been a bit difficult,” John-Paul said. “We just really appreciate people being patient with us. On the restaurant side, there are some days where you’re a little underprepared, or go a little slow, but people have been really understanding.”

According to John-Paul, the menu remains a work-in-progress, but customers can order online, call into the restaurant for a phone order, or walk in and take a seat.

The Chow Hall is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offers discounts to veterans and first responders. For more information, contact The Chow Hall at (970) 826-7123, or on Facebook at @ChowHallSubs, or on their website at chowhallsubs.com.


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