A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE historic ROYAL GROVE
The Royal Grove first opened it's doors in 1933 in the village of West Lincoln. Tommy Jelsma, together with his wife, Norma, took what started out as a humble fried chicken joint that occasionally featured live bands and built it into one of Nebraska's most beloved and iconic venues. By the mid 1960s, The Royal Grove was Nebraska's ultimate night-life destination complete with Go-Go-Girls, hot tubs, a swimming pool, exotic dancers, and top-tier concerts from the biggest names in music.
The Royal Grove continued to thrive through the 70s, 80s, 90s, and into the early 2000s, attracting legendary bands and hottest emerging acts and earning Tommy an induction into the Nebraska Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. Tommy finally retired in the mid-2000s, handing the club over to new ownership with a new vision for the club focused mainly on country music concerts. The transition to a county music club wasn't a smooth one, and after another short-lived ownership change, the legendary venue went dark in 2013.
Rewind a bit back to the mid-2000s, and you have a musician named Eli Mardock who created a popular indie rock band with some college friends. The band went on to get signed by a few major labels over the years and the band embarked on numerous tours around the US & Europe, exposing Eli to dozens of amazing music venues all over the world. Inspired by his experiences, Eli and his wife, Carrie, opened their first music venue in 2013. Though beautifully designed, the club was undersized and the trendy area carried a high price tag. It didn't take long for the Mardocks to realize they had to find a new home.
After an extensive search they lucked out and were able to secure the vacant Royal Grove, which only a decade or two before had been the area's premier club. Though the building was in need of some serious TLC, they were able to see the potential and jumped at the opportunity to bring the hot spot back to life. On Jan. 26, 2018 - Darude (of Sandstorm fame) - played the first show to launch the newly re-opened Royal Grove. The opening weekend was so successful that the club sold completely out of beer. Since then the building has been in a near constant state of renovation with the venue relying heavily on the wish lists and consultation of artists and industry professionals in making upgrades and improvements.
2022 marks the 89th year since the Royal Grove Nite Club first opened it's doors. To this day, the Royal Grove remains a fiercely independent music venue, still 100% locally owned and family operated. The venue continues to attract legendary national and local talent to its stage and, despite the ever growing number of renovations & upgrades, retains a charming old-school vibe that harkens back to days gone by.