by Dorothy Timpy
A musician’s musician and friends of friends in need, that’s
Phil and Kathy Richards, who have operated Rileys, 5836 S.E. 92nd and
Foster for nearly 12 years.
The Richards recall changes they have brought about since
they purchased the establishment, like cleaning out druggies and
other less-than-desirable clients. Kathy calls it the bulldozing
days, when they not only concentrated on being anti-drug, but anti-fighting
as well. The Richards feel these efforts all stemmed from a strong
desire to make Riley’s a “nice” place to be.
The Richards got into Riley’s virtually “with an arm and a
leg” after each were injured, Phil in his leg and Kathy in her arm.
They looked for something to invest in that they could operate despite
their disabilities. Kathy recalls that the weeding-out process brought
on some fears...that they would have no customers left; but, they
felt it would either make or break their attempt to have a neighborhood
bar of unimpeachable reputation.
Phil came to be a bar owner after years of plying the music
trade. He spoke of playing with a well-known group called the Western
Echoes, traveling from Reno to Hawaii, playing at the Kubana Keys,
Polynesian Club in Oahu, Waikiki Beach, among many, many other clubs
To date, he runs a jam session each Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m.
with all musicians issued an invitation to take part. Live music
on stage is slated each Monday evening by long-time friends and musicians
Larry Smith and Cindy Bailey.
Rileys hosted a benefit Aug. 7 for each of the musician friends
for family tragedies. Bailey’s daughter Tammy lost her life in a
swimming accident when she jumped into a river in Minnesota to save
her seven-year-old son, Hunter, now an orphan, as his father also
died due to cancer two years ago. Benefit funds will go partially
to help with funeral expenses, as well as to set up an education
fund for the little boy.
The Richards recall Cindy and Tammy worked together on a video
Las Vegas-style show.
Second beneficiary of the Aug. 7 event is guitarist Smith,
whose mother Charleen was also taken by cancer. She too was a musician,
working with Smith for 20 years as his bass player.
Kathy and Phil Richards are cooking for the event and, since
everything is donated, all proceeds go toward the two beneficiaries.
The Richards offered an all-you-can-eat buffet for a $10 donation.
Even the employees of Riley’s made donations for the gathering.
Musicians on hand to provide entertainment included Cindy
Bailey, Larry Smith, Phil Richards, Joe Thomas, Jimmy Thompson, Tony
Rio, Papa Spain, Brother Mud, Hurd Brothers, Bob, Chuck and Don;
many more were available to further the cause and offer their support.
The Richards brought to light the changes they have engineered;
they changed a once-encompassing horseshoe bar that extended from
the current back kitchen wall out into the main area of the lounge,
modernizing the once-cubby-hole restrooms into comfortable, well-located
and appointed rooms.
The kitchen area behind the bar, which has been relocated
to straight across in front of the kitchen, sports appliances which
have seen many years of service, like an antique-appearing walk-in,
as well as a vintage beer cooler. One end of the bar is as of yet
in disarray because they smilingly say they are a work in progress.
They have no urgency to their remodeling plans, however, so it does
not interfere with the relaxing atmosphere they try to maintain.
They already have installed new carpeting and look toward the future
addition of a new walk-in.
Kathy points out they have been able to work together so well
through these years because they are not alcohol or drug abusers
and are Christians. Kathy and Phil chuckle as they discuss their
penchant for varied music in Riley’s. Phil recalls he had an aversion
against doing Christian music in the bar but Kathy quickly pointed
out, “but God is everywhere,” so if someone wants to do a religious
tune, that’s all right too. They say one of the most popular is Amazing
Another side note to all this is that Larry Smith and Cindy
Bailey have worked together for 33 years, after meeting in a lounge
in Molalla, where they still play their music on weekend nights.
Riley’s offers Tuesday specials ranging from $5.95 to $7.95.
They give choices of steaks, seafood, chicken, all kinds of sandwiches
ranging from prime rib French dip to chili burgers with “lotsa” chili
In addition to all these offerings, they have a major menu
of appetizers and finger foods from which you can choose a “sampler” of
five items for $3.95, as well as their soon-to-be-famous Riley’s
biscuits and gravy. If you want something to go or to make reservations,
just call 503-777-5430.