The new crew at the Hitching Post, from left: Amber & Kyle Wright, Rick Babbitt, Sandy Smith, John Blake, Scott Duren, India Eccles, and Keith & Brenda Wright. (KEIZERTIMES/Lyndon Zaitz)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

The Hitchin Post has a new owner. The bar just north of town has been popular with Keizerites for years, but now there’s a twist: Families are welcome, too.

The new owners are Keith and Brenda Wright. They completed the purchase from Luke Clearwater just last week.

Amber Wright, Keith’s daughter-in-law, said it was Keith’s dream “for the longest time to own a bar because he really wanted to get his food out there. He loves to cook, that’s his life.”

Family dining is now on tap from 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Menu changes are coming, but not just yet. Amber said planned additions include ribs.

“We’re going to try to do specials every day – homemade food,” Amber said. “We’re going to add more to (the menu) to have more variety.”

Keith, who owns Casual Catering, said he’s wanted to own the Hitchin Post for years.

As a teen his best friend lived across the street, and he would clean horse stalls for extra cash.

“I’d knock on the back door and Ms. (Joyce) Clearwater would make us burgers and serve us RC Cola in a bottle,” Keith said. “This place has a little bit of meaning to me.”

Keith plans to serve ribs smoked with a dry rub for seven hours, then put into a steaming barbecue sauce bath for two more hours.

“I’m told I have perfected the art of barbecued ribs,” Keith said.

He’ll be keeping the one-pounder burger, and is adding onion rings with a homemade batter to the mix.

He also plans to add tri-tip, a full salad menu and prime rib.

“We want to make it a family dining location where minors can be here until 9 p.m,. enjoy some things with their parents, be able to watch a football or basketball game,” Keith said.