It’s been eight months since The Buckhorn Tavern was brought back to life by Ernie and Stephanie Sichler. Keeping alive the historic eatery and serving food was but just one of the reasons for the venture.
The Buckhorn first opened its doors in 1943 and has since gained a reputation for serving award-winning green chile cheeseburgers. That hasn’t changed with the new ownership, but the Sichlers wanted to do more, in Stephanie’s words, “to give back.”
That was the notion behind Warrior Wednesdays.
“We both grew up in families that believed in giving back to the community,” she said. “It was something that was instilled in us from a very young age. So when we got together, we decided that it was something that we both wanted to continue in our family."
To that end, The Buckhorn Tavern inaugurated its weekly Warrior Wednesday fundraiser last month, where 10 percent of all proceeds from 4 p.m. to close are donated to nonprofit charitable projects.
“We’ve been doing it with the food pantry for four weeks,” she said. “There are so many people that have been laid off. There are so many people right now that don’t know where they’re going to get the next meal. The Storehouse is allowing those people to get access to food. That’s why we’ve done a month of Wednesdays for them.
"Our main focus is the community, the people who live here," Stephanie said. "We wouldn't be able to stay open without the community. We've been able to keep our crew, and we're very grateful to the community for supporting us.”
Beginning this week, donations are going to the Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation and earmarked for Socorro General Hospital.
“The money will be going for masks, and anything they’re having to ramp up because of COVID,” Stephanie said. “Whether it’s for testing or anything like that they’re doing. That fund will help cover it.”
Veronica Pound, the hospital’s chief executive, said The Buckhorn’s Warrior Wednesday proceeds will contribute to Socorro General helping the community at large.
“Throughout this crisis, we have been honored by the incredible generosity of our community,” Pound said. “On behalf of our staff and clinicians, we want to thank The Buckhorn Tavern for their support.”
Even though the restaurant business has been hit hard by the general lockdown, Stephanie and Ernie felt this is the best time to be giving back.
“How can you not turn around and say thank-you?” She said. “Whenever there’s a nonprofit that has a need, we’d like to pair with them.”
When restrictions relax to allow dine-in, Warrior Wednesday will continue, “four to close,” she said. “Until then, The Buckhorn provides curbside and carry-out.”
The Sichlers promise the same quality that made The Buckhorn famous.
“We wanted to keep the menu the same. We did not buy McDonald's. We bought The Buckhorn," Stephanie said. "Bobby still comes in and orders… you know, make sure we're doing it right."
That includes Warrior Wednesday.