REXBURG — Gator Jack’s in Hemming Village is under new ownership.

Barry Pierce and Mikey Bonilla have been longtime fans of the Gator Jack’s brand, especially the sandwiches, and when they heard the previous owner had closed the restaurant, the duo decided they needed to get into the business.

“About a day or two after it closed up, we thought that we’d take advantage of it and see if we could make something out of it,” Pierce said.

Since then Pierce and Bonilla have been hard at work reconstructing what it means to eat at Gator Jack’s.

“We’re actually coming in and remodeling the whole entire restaurant,” Pierce said. “We’re changing up the concept a tiny bit.”

Bonilla said the changes are things that will help make the dining experience better.

“We’re giving the people what they want,” he said. “We just want to make sure we can get everything out the way it needs to be.”

Neither man shared what kind of changes were coming, preferring to keep changes a surprise for the community. All will be revealed at the grand opening, which Pierce said is tentatively scheduled for March 1.

Pierce said the new Gator Jack’s will feature fresh ingredients in an effort to remind customers of the restaurant’s roots.

“We just want to get back to the basics,” he said. “Everything will be top-notch. We want to make sure the quality is there, the quantity is there, and that we’ll be fully staffed and plenty of food to serve to everybody.”

Pierce added that the biggest change so far is in the logo. He and Bonilla are hosting a contest for changes in the Gator Jack’s brand image. So far they’ve received more than 75 submissions.

“We want to involve the community a little bit,” Pierce said, “because we feel that Gator Jack’s has been here for a while, and it’s established. We want to give it a fresh look.”

The winner of the contest will have their logo design placed over the entrance of the restaurant, as well as receive a year’s worth of Gator Jack’s sandwiches and drinks. Applicants have until Saturday, Jan. 27, to enter their logo submission, which they can do by sending a copy of their logo idea to mikey@thegatorjacks.com.

Bonilla said this is an opportunity to keep the ownership of the restaurant local, and he and Pierce are excited to be moving forward with the project.

“It’s kind of a staple restaurant here in town,” Bonilla said.

Pierce said this was something they’re committed to do.

“We have our own money, a personal investment in this, and I think we’re going to make something great out of it,” he said.

For more information about Gator Jack’s, visit their Facebook page, “Gator Jacks of Rexburg.”