MARSHALL - When a business has been part of a community for as long as the Wooden Nickel has, there's a relationship that's been built up with customers. Although the bar and restaurant has undergone some big changes this spring, its new owners and managers say they want to keep that connection to Marshall strong.
"The thing about the Nickel that's great is, it's historic. The crowd is inviting," said manager Sam Borowski.
The Nickel has long been a place where people have come to gather after sporting events or during celebrations downtown, and Borowski said that's an important part of the business to preserve.
Photo by Deb Gau
Some of the new faces at Wooden Nickel Burgers and Brew gathered in the restaurant’s patio area earlier this week. From left are co-owner and assistant manager Michael Halquist, general manager Sam Borowski, and assistant chef Rene Bosquez.
"We want to bring some life back to it. It's a wonderful space," Borowski said.
A group of local businesspeople bought the Wooden Nickel and took formal ownership on May 1, Borowski said. The new co-owners include Matt Schnoor, Kevin Niemann, Jerred and Mari Lee, and Michael Halquist.
Wooden Nickel Burgers and Brew opened up a little later in May with a new menu, featuring gourmet twists on foods like hamburgers, fries and sandwiches. Borowski said chef Clint Lindemer has done some great work putting together a menu that's both creative and tasty. One example she pointed out was the "Orchard Burger," which is topped with Brie cheese and apples. The menu also features items like chicken wings smoked in-house, and "basket" meals that come with a choice of sides.
Wooden Nickel Burgers and Brew will have a bit of a different theme from its past as a sports-type bar, Borowski said. The new emphasis will be on the Minnesota and local connection.
"We want to use as many Minnesota and local ingredients as possible," and also spotlight great local beers, Borowski said.
The business will also be getting a new look, featuring Minnesota-inspired decor. "We're going to work on getting some more Minnesota art and photos," as well as doing some interior painting, Borowski said. The Nickel's outdoor patio area is also getting a lot of attention, with a lower fence and new landscaping in the works.
"We are definitely getting our feet wet," Borowski said of the renovation process.
The new owners and new staff at the Wooden Nickel include people with experience working in the local bar and restaurant business. Borowski is an SMSU graduate with experience at the Landmark Bistro and the Varsity Pub.
"For me, it's a big opportunity," she said of managing the Wooden Nickel. Borowski said good service is her top priority, and she plans on doing a lot of waiting on tables and interacting with customers. So far, she said the work is, "Crazy, but good crazy."
"Every day is an adventure. Every day is new and exciting," Borowski said. And the response from customers has been encouraging.