Thursday, February 8, 2018
Connie Jo Discoe | Regional Editor/ McCook Gazette
“Million Dollar Party” offers cautionary tale about hitching hopes to Nebraska football”
Robert and Susan Ihrig, of Parker, Colo., have written “Million Dollar Party” as a cautionary tale to those who dream of owning their own bar or restaurant. Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Gazette
PARKER, Colo. — Robert and Susan Ihrig, former McCook and Culbertson residents, don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. But they wrote their book, “Million Dollar Party,” in hopes of, at the least, drawing a cloud over all the bright shiny expectations of TV’s “Cheers” and Toby Keith’s song, “I Love this Bar.”
Susan tells Bob when he says he wants to write a book to warn people of the pitfalls of bar ownership, “Very few will be dissuaded from their dreams. You knew the facts and still jumped in.”
“Million Dollar Party” tells how the Ihrigs’ jumped in, stumbled and fell after opening and investing tons of money in the dream they called “Bob’s Gridiron Grille and the Pigskin Bar,” a restaurant and bar in Lincoln whose popularity, Bob discovered too late, rose and fell with the win-loss record and coaching staff changes of the Nebraska Cornhusker football team.
Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5
Million Dollar Party is a beautiful look at the life running beneath the surface of one’s work.
Million Dollar Party by Robert Mark Ihrig and Susan Jean Butherus Ihrig is an engaging memoir about opening, running, and closing a restaurant, and how that enterprise changed the way that the Ihrigs thought about themselves.
Concentrating primarily on Robert, the Ihrigs’ compelling story begins at the end: their restaurant is closing for good, and their staff has gathered for one last raucous time together. The opening scene details each person in attendance, giving a sense of the authors’ care for people and knack for characterization.
From there, the narrative goes back to Robert Ihrig’s childhood. The book continues to alternate between present day, in the aftermath of the restaurant’s closing party, and flashbacks from earlier, until the two streams join to form a coherent picture of Robert Ihrig and the story of his restaurant.
This is far from a tell-all account. Instead of exhaustively gathering details, the book weaves a well-rounded picture of Ihrig’s life, concentrating particularly on notions such as how parents shape a person’s dreams and identity, or on how one event may build on another fluidly, right up to the point of an unexpected junction, or a break, that opens the floodgates to something new.
Kayo‘s review – January 20, 2018
Goodread Author and Reviewer 4 out of 5
A but heartbreaking, but a test of will as well.
Would have been nice for author to give a follow up.
Thank you to author, publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read.
While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
Former Lincoln Restaurant Owners To Be At O’Neill Library For Reading & Book Signing
The O’Neill Public Library will host the dynamic duo of Robert and Susan Ihrig, authors of “Million Dollar Party.”
The authors will host a reading and book signing from 6:30-9 p.m. Thursday, July 12 at the library.
Relive the ups and downs the couple encountered during the process of owning a restaurant in Lincoln.
The NCB News – The Nebraska Center For The Book
Summer 2018, Volume 28, No. 2
Review by Sherry Houston, Papillion, page 4
Perhaps this book should have merely been called, A Life. Although the author wanted to tell the story of his failed restaurant adventure, he really told the story of his life, growing up in mostly Nebraska in the 1950s and 1960s. Ihrig’s dad developed heart disease and died in his thirties. One forgets that until recently, heart disease was a death sentence. Ihrig tells of his mom’s alcoholism, his love of rock bands of the 60s, and of course, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. His collection of Nebraska Husker memorabilia had to have been one of a kind.
Ihrig’s life was one of adventure, of doing things his own way with success as well as failure. A Life. Written in vignettes from a few paragraphs to a few pages, Million Dollar Party starts with the closing party for Bob’s Gridiron Grille and flashes back to Bob’s early years in Clatonia and school days in McCook, interspersed with Cornhusker game highlights and memorabilia collecting. Bob’s Gridiron Grille was the culmination of the Ihrig’s dreams; but it failed. Perhaps it was the economy, perhaps it was timing, or just an unlucky break. By the end, Bob and Susan have only $500 and a run-down vehicle in which they escape to Colorado—a pair of modern day refugees. Easily readable, Million Dollar Party travels through the years reminding one of what was. Easy and hard, good and bad—A Life! Thanks for the memories!
READ MORE in the NEWSLETTER (pdf)…
July 1, 2018
Dear Bob & Susan;
Your book Million Dollar Party is truly inspirational!! Everyone should read your book to discover two strong and persevering people from the heartland of America!! You are to be admired and respected in the dedication of the journey for your dream!! You don’t have to be a Nebraska Cornhusker football fan to enjoy this book. However, anyone that’s a dedicated college football fan and those that are aspiring to establish a high quality restaurant operation, Million Dollar Party is a “must read”!!! Actually it is a must read for anyone as, it is a “roller coaster of emotions” of your incredible experience! Without a doubt, I highly recommend this book Million Dollar Party!! You will enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!
Former MLB Umpire
Former Baseball Umpire for the Big 8 Conference and Big Ten Conference