28 August 2011


Today, River City Eatery had its first "gig."  Okay, it wasn't a paying gig, more of a sampler.  We had the beautiful setting of Cottonwood Lake, the shade of a big Maple and a breeze that made the leaves of the Cottonwood's play sweet music at the Strom family home and David's art studio.  It was the perfect day to share a taste of River City Eatery at Cottonwood County Historical Society's Artists' Studio Tour.  Mixed Berry Bars, Chocolate Chip and Raspberry White Chocolate Scones, Tiger Brownies, and Caramel Squares were on the menu.  We were lucky to share such a wonderful space with such great people.  Thank you to local artist David Strom and his wife, Marilee, for being such wonderful hosts and to the historical society for thinking of River City Eatery. 

22 August 2011

my beer is sweating.

I'm surprised and excited so many have taken interest or, should I say, debate over my recent adventure. This is how progression forward starts! Well, I'm a firm believer in getting all the facts straight before getting my undies in a bundle and taking a firm stance on something, so maybe I should share the exact words of the city ordinance and Minnesota state liquor licensing laws to help spread awareness of correct and true facts, so you can better understand what I'm going to be asking the city council.

Page 5 of the Introduction to Minnesota Liquor Laws and Rules:

    I. Wine On Sale licenses (340 A.404 Subd. 5.) and on sale of strong beer.
            2. A municipality may by ordinance authorize a holder of an on-sale wine license, who is also licensed to sell 3.2 beer on-sale and whose gross receipts are at least 60% attributable to the sale of food, to sell strong beer at on-sale without an additional license- no additional fee may be charged.

Now here is the definition of beer and wine (by ordinance of Windom) .

    Beer:  "Malt liquor containing not less than one-half of one percent alcohol by volume nor more than 3.2 percent alcohol by weight." 

    Wine: "Wine means the product made from the normal alcoholic fermentation of grapes, including still wine, sparkling and carbonated wine, wine made from condensed grape must, wine made from other agricultural products than sound, ripe grapes, imitation wine, compounds sold as wine, vermouth, cider, perry and sake.  For purposes of on sale wine licenses, 'wine' may contain up to 14 percent alcohol by volume for consumption with the sale of food.  For all other purposes, 'wine' is a product containing not less than one-half of one percent nor more than 24 percent alcohol by volume for nonindustrial use."

Now one must take into consideration that River City Eatery will not be a bar, River City Eatery is an establishment dedicated to the sale of food and where there is food, there shall always be drink.  This is not about selling intoxicating beverages- 3.2 beer, strong beer and/or wine will get anyone to that destination if he or she chooses that destination.  It is the choice, not the beverage, that intoxicates.

The purpose of "redefining" the municipal ordinance is to give my customers who wish to enjoy a wonderful evening in beautiful, historic downtown Windom a choice to enjoy some wonderful local products with some wonderful local food and to support local, small businesses--and in this case those small businesses are breweries.  I think of micro brews just like some think of wines, some kinds of beer just go better with some kinds of food.  I can sell those "some kinds of wines," but I can't sell those "some kinds of beers."  It just doesn't make complete sense to me.

It is important to point out that River City Eatery will still be a great place to eat regardless of my success redefining the municipal ordinance because, bottom line, we are an eatery, not a drinkery.  I have no ulterior motives with this adventure, I'm having a hard time figuring out what any ulterior motives would be in this case. I just think it would enhance the overall experience of River City Eatery and Windom all together, and I think many people, residents and/or guests, would conquer.

I'm not trying to move mountains or try something that has never been done before, this is nothing crazy or ridiculous to the world around us. I'm simply asking permission to sell a product that a great number of people have to presently leave the city limits to enjoy with a nice meal.  Why not allow them to enjoy it right here in Windom at River City Eatery? 


16 August 2011


As River City Eatery starts to take shape and my dream of opening a restaurant in Windom are coming true, I'm getting thirsty from all this hard, but oh so much fun work.  I'm getting thirsty for some microbrew.  Unfortunately, a beer and wine license, which we were lucky to recently receive, only allows River City to serve 3.2 beer.  With our beer and wine license we were hoping to serve some great mircro brews from some great local breweries, but these micro brews don't come 3.2 style.  So right now our option is Miller or Bud.  I don't mind Miller or Bud, but I'd like more options, you know?  And I'm sure my customers would want some other options as well.  So here is another option: to inform the city council about this archaic ordinance and allow a beer and wine license to include strong beer, which I have been informed by the state liquor inspector that it is up to the city to grant to an establishment holding a beer and wine license.  Good news this ordinance can be changed at a local level, and I definitely think it is something for the city council to consider. I'll keep you informed with the progress I make trying to get the city council to consider allowing something other than Miller or Bud products in River City Eatery.

Here's to the microbrews, our local breweries, and a cold one!  Cheers!

10 August 2011


Yesterday I was so surprisingly, informally and indirectly asked by a city worker to take down my beautiful hanging baskets on the posts in front of River City Eatery or the consequence would be that a city worker would take them down for me and I would be fined.  The fine would be because of "city right of way."  I would be fined because I hung flower baskets on city property.  My goal throughout this blog and throughout this journey have been to remain postitive, but sometimes I just need to be honest.  I have obligations as a respectable citizen of this community to follow rules set for our city, and I will continue to do so, thus the baskets that were hanging on the posts outside River City Eatery have been taken down.  I'm hoping that after enforcing harmless hanging baskets on city property that the ordinances to keep our city clean and tidy are also enforced.  I'm hoping the ordinances to keep our historic downtown buildings from deteriorating into dust will be enforced. And I'm hoping that someday, together as a City, we can set a standard of living, expectations for an outstanding quality of life, that we will all feel obligated to follow.

I'm going to stay postive.

RIP dear flowers, someday I hope we will meet again...

08 August 2011

nite to unite.

Tonight is Windom's Nite to Unite on the Courthouse Square, and I can't help but think that it was a year ago that I was trying to build awareness about Finding Windom.  I wrote a post about all of Larry's friends gathering around him and the excitement of all of Windom's possibilities was weaved within every word of the post.  The same excitement holds true today, a year later.  There is so much we have done, are working on and hope to accomplish-what a wonderful feeling!  What a beautiful night to unite on the downtown square.

Also, tomorrow (Tuesday, August 9th), our local and very talented musician, Jim Austerman is hosting a free concert at the Historical Society from 1:30-3:30pm!  I encourage you to check it out!

03 August 2011

this wall talks.

Sometimes you just have to listen in order to find something wonderful.  During the remodeling process of River City Eatery we found this beautiful brick wall under plaster.  As my handy father was trying to patch plaster after pulling off numerous sheets of unwanted paneling attached by huge square nails (you can imagine the holes those nails made in plaster!), the plaster was literally falling off the wall in a some spots.  Naturally I was curious, so I kept chipping away at the plaster and the next thing I know, I had a 4'x4' section of this perfect brick staring at me, begging to be revealed.  So during a stormy night until about midnight, with a hammer drill, a chisel, and the help of dad and some extremely generous friends, this amazing wall was freed from the blanket of plaster that covered it for way too many years.

Cheers to this wall my friends-what a fun surprise! And believe me, in the world of remodeling, not many surprises are good surprises.

02 August 2011


I want to share the 5 priorities of the Windom city council based on the community meetings feedback.  I have enjoyed discussing all of Windom's possibilities with not only other community members, but with the city council as well.  It is now my goal to see these priorities come to life with achievable goals set and made by the council.  How wonderful that we have concrete priorities set-we are on our way to wonderful things:

1. Community Pride-Dynamic future built on a positive and strong reputation and image.
2. Community Vitality-Create new jobs in tandem with a thriving and revitalized square.
3. Organizational Culture-High quality of services via an efficiant and effective workplace.
4. Public Facilities-Prioritize, plan and fun capital improvements.
5. Natural Resources-Utilize the value and beautify of our land and geography.

Next step--setting goals!