This bar wears stars

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By Matt Gunn

When Adam Heilig returns from Baghdad, his homecoming celebration will be held in familiar surroundings.

Part restaurant, part nightclub and part M*A*S*H 4077th, G.I. Jodi’s is a veritable oasis for South Jeffco residents in search of a little fun outside the city.

Though she touts her 5-month-old business as “Colorado’s Only True Military Oriented Bar & Grill,” founder Jodi Malloy earned the nickname as a result of her early career as a bartender. Suffice it to say, Jodi Malloy’s bartenders are often found wearing camouflage as an homage to that legacy.

With the bar itself covered in camouflage, G.I. Jodi’s is a welcome sight for all those who support American troops. Military memorabilia and photos of soldiers stationed abroad adorns the walls.

Jodi Malloy makes a special effort to hold homecoming celebrations for any soldiers returning home. That made the decision for Heilig’s family relatively easy.

“We’re in the neighborhood, and it’s a military place,” said Carolyn Walker, Heilig’s mother. “It’s just a cool place to have a homecoming party.”

The eatery’s unique theme, along with different events and specials seven nights a week, is what Jodi Malloy credits for the success that already has her looking to add a second location.

“It’s my staff,” she said. “It’s definitely my staff. And then we offer such a variety of things to do.”

Aside from what Jodi Malloy calls the “prettiest waitresses and bartenders around,” she credits family for making the restaurant happen. Her sister-in-law, Tonya Malloy, is co-owner. Jodi’s father, Jerry Malloy, helped get the business started. Her brother, Scott Malloy, is G.I. Jodi’s manager.

“So it’s a family affair,” Jodi Malloy said.

Success can also be attributed to the fact that there’s not much around the Ken Caryl area that resembles the G.I. Jodi’s business model.

“It was an open market, and I got really lucky,” Jodi Malloy said. “But the area is great, the people are great. We worked our butt off here.”

That’s reflected in the way customers respect what she has done in just five short months.

“Jodi and her family make everyone feel comfortable — everyone,” said Rob Parmentien, a patron who considers G.I. Jodi’s a favorite hangout.

Just because the bar has a military theme doesn’t mean it keeps an exclusive clientele. Jodi Malloy makes sure everyone feels welcome, and doesn’t put up with those who can’t play nice.

“This bar happens to be one of the bars that you can come into at any time, and you feel safe,” Jerry Malloy said. “You don’t feel threatened by any of the people here.”

The nightly events, such as karaoke, poker and live music on weekends, ensure that the experience remains fresh throughout the week.

Jodi Malloy adds that the menu doesn’t hurt, either. Among the signature items are homemade potato chips, sliders and hamburgers that Jodi Malloy considers some of the best in town.

“We’ve got great food,” she said. “Great burgers.”

G.I. Jodi’s, at 11550 W. Meadows Drive, is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and serves food until 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight during the weekends.