Interviews Restaurants & Bars

An Interview with The Office Bar & Grill’s Jim Kanelos

Formerly known as Karen and Jim’s Movie Star Lounge, the recently revamped Office Bar and Grill is the newest hot spot in Casper, Wyoming. Owned by Jim and Karen KanelosThe Office opened in April and features an outside patio, four-sided bar, and large open windows – something that the prior space was missing before. It’s an exciting change for the owners and a great addition to the increasing variety of bars in the area. 


Although the Movie Star Lounge was a beloved restaurant before the remodel (imagine bright purple furniture, Hollywood memorabilia on every wall, and weekly karaoke), The Office Bar and Grill now offers something new and fresh. It’s a place to go after work to continue working or meet up with friends for happy hour. It’s a place where “overtime is a good thing.”

Bargreen Ellingson’s Thomas Branson helped create the concept for Jim and Karen by bringing it all together with new furniture by JH Carr and tabletop items including Steelite china and Walco flatware. The simple concept is a stark contrast from its colorful past but a concept that will surely turn the bar into a local favorite for regulars and tourists alike.

Read Jim’s interview below to learn more. 

What is your background and how did you get to where you are today?

I was raised in a restaurant family and followed in my father’s footsteps. In 1998, my wife Karen and I began our career together in the business and we have enjoyed continued success with her being in the front of the house and myself in the back of the house.

What was the inspiration behind the new concept and how did you turn this into a reality?

We have a full liquor license and never quite used it to its full potential so we decided it was the right time to transition into a 21 and over venue with a patio. We wanted a simple name to fit our simple look yet offer a bar menu with a little flair and a limited selection. We incorporated a sports feel with our Direct TV package as well as Buzztime to keep everyone busy while enjoying our 32 draft selection.

What types of challenges has the restaurant faced and how did you overcome these?

We had always been a family restaurant with a very large menu. Karen was the only bartender and I was in the kitchen. We hired key people to take these positions for us and we are now just present for management purposes only. Giving up our positions was difficult but we felt it was time to step away and just manage. Not allowing under 21 was a bit difficult since the families were always our bread and butter but we knew it would have a greater reward catering to 21 and over.

What continues to motivate you in the service industry?

The same thing that has always motivated my wife and I and that is the harder we work, the more we benefit. Not to mention the friends we make with our wonderful customers.

How do you hope to influence the Casper food scene over the next few years?

We will continue to do a small menu but always bring something a little more trendy to the plate to compliment our amazing bar. We strive on customer service and our hands-on approach to always be on-premise owners is the key to our success.

Visit The Office Bar and Grill here

Photo courtesy of The Office Bar and Grill Facebook page. 

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