Bill Kohler gets tears in his eyes when he talks about the tough days of his nearly 18 years in the Army.
It's not the brain injury or shrapnel in his body that get the disabled veteran down.
Young lives lost too soon haunt the 45-year-old former medic.
"I had friends die overseas, and it's hard. I used to tell my command, 'If I die, that's OK because I had a good life. But these young guys, they haven't even had a chance to live. My only thing is, don't ever forget me,'" Kohler said.
He and two business partners are now carrying that sentiment into their new restaurant, Never Forgotten BBQ.
The new eatery is slated to open Memorial Day weekend at 2582 Eastern Blvd. in Springettsbury Township.
Photos of Pennsylvania veterans will create a collage on the walls, and photos of national memorials will decorate the windows.
"All the people who made this country what it is, the people who sacrificed for this country," Kohler said.
Veterans and first responders will receive discounts daily at Never Forgotten BBQ, said Bill Scherr, 39-year-old chef and business partner at the restaurant.
That name: Another reason the restaurant is appropriately named is because, "once you have his barbecue, you'll never forget it," Kohler said.
Scherr's menu includes barbecued ribs, turkey, ham, pulled pork, homemade sauces, sides, chips, coleslaw, potato salad, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese.
Hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The new business also has a catering arm that combines efforts with business partner and chef Lucien St. Onge of Culinary Creations of York.
The restaurant will offer takeout and have seating inside for 46 people.
Owners of Never Forgotten BBQ said they want to get to know their customers and the veterans in their lives.
"We want you to come in and see your grandfather on the wall and share your story," Kohler said. "Our country is waning in its history. Sharing our stories and pictures is another way to share our history."
"We don't want you to be our customer, we want you to be our guest. We want you to feel at home," Scherr added.
Because Never Forgotten BBQ is a veteran-owned business, Kohler said he's working with other veteran-owned businesses for his supplies and other restaurant needs.
"I love my country, and this is another way for me to serve now," he said.
—Reach Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org.