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Duo in dining

May 24, 2010
By Karin Elton

TRACY - A little bit of history is being preserved at the corner of Third and South streets in Tracy.

And it's not movie history, despite the name of the new restaurant in town - Thelma and Louise's Bar & Grill.

Shirley Matson, one of owners along with Marge Kronback, said people referred to the duo as Thelma and Louise, so they decided to call the restaurant that.

Article Photos

Photo by Karin Elton

Marge Kronback, left, and Shirley Matson are the owners of a new Tracy restaurant called Thelma and Louise’s Bar & Grill. The building used to house a bank and there is a table for two in the former bank vault.

The eatery is in the building that was built in 1894 to house a bank. Bank safes are strewn about the restaurant. A cozy nook which holds a table for two was a bank vault.

The bar is from an old Currie pool hall from the 1880s or '90s, said Matson.

The building isn't the only thing getting a new life - Matson and Kronback are as well.

"We were bored with our life," said Matson. "We thought, 'we need something to do.'"

Matson is the former owner of the Cactus Bar and Lounge in Revere and Kronback was the cook so they knew what they were getting into.

"We're certainly busy now," Matson said.

The two said their employees are a "fun bunch," and they like visiting with the customers.

"We both enjoy people," said Matson. "We have a good work staff and it's fun to see new faces. If you stay home, you don't see anybody."

Kronback works in the kitchen and is in charge of the ordering. Matson does a lot of the "putsy work - just like at home" meaning small tasks such as cleaning surfaces and straightening tablecloths.

The two both come in the mornings and get the restaurant ready and do business with the sales representatives who come in.

The restaurant was a turnkey business, said Matson. The last couple businesses located in the building were restaurants. They didn't need to change anything except for updating the kitchen.

Marilyn Smith-Frederickson is responsible for the decor, said Matson. She had a restaurant called Maxine's Fine Dining and Cordials in the early 2000s.

In small rooms, tables are set up for semi-private dining. In one room is seating for 12 and another has seating for eight.

One evening a family of eight sat down and Matson asked what were they celebrating. They said they were just getting together and it was nice to sit at a table for eight where they could hear each other talk.

"We get a lot of families," she said.

A popular dish is the Thelma & Louise Special - an eight-ounce sirloin steak, eggs and toast for $7.75. That was a customer request. Matson was told, "'we'd just like steak and eggs,'" she said. "A lot of men like that and women are eating it, too."

Matson said the community has been supportive of the restaurant.

"We've got customers from Belview, Lamberton, Revere, Slayton and Marshall," she said.

Kronback said before the restaurant opened, Tracy residents let them know they were eager for the restaurant to open.

"Just walking down the street, they'd tell you, 'we're so happy that you're opening a restaurant.'"

Kronback said fellow businesses have been supportive as well.

"The merchants have been tremendous," she said.

Thelma & Louise's opens at 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays with the kitchen opening at 5 p.m.

Kronback and Matson have been asked to have a breakfast buffet and they are considering adding the feature in the fall.



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