WILMONT — After being closed for two years, Wilmont Saloon No. 7 will reopen mid-November under new ownership by Rick and Stacy Johnson from the Clearwater area.
Rick is the brother of the previous owner, Lynn Johnson of Slayton. When Lynn closed the business, it was always the plan for Rick to buy the bar from her.
Although the Johnsons will own the saloon, their daughter Hailey and her boyfriend Chris will operate it. Hailey has experience as a waitress and bartender and Chris has worked in kitchens. They will return to Minnesota to take over after they finish hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail next month.
Professionally, Rick installs commercial kitchens, so he is a perfect asset in assuring that the equipment is up-to-date and meets the saloon's needs. He and Stacy plan to buy a house in town so they can come help on the weekends sometimes.
The menu will differ only slightly from its previous iteration. Johnson said he wants to offer "the stuff farm kids like," so he has put classics like beef commercials and tater tot hotdish on the new menu. The night menu will include steaks and Firehouse Pizza.
Other changes include bottom-fill beer taps — which Johnson prefers because they only waste 1% of the keg, whereas traditional taps waste 40% — and the inclusion of some local Minnesota beers, like Grain Belt Blu.
Johnson said e-tabs and cardboard pull tabs will be available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting Northstar Search and Rescue. He also plans to add Sunday meat raffles.
He wants the bar to have a "Sunday Funday" atmosphere, so he will upgrade the TVs to optimize football watching and will restore the pool league.
"I walk into this place and it feels right," Johnson said. He is excited for the family's new venture.
Wilmont Saloon No. 7 needs 10 to 15 people to staff the bar and restaurant.
"I'm big on team efforts," Johnson said. He is looking for employees who are team players and can work together to make the saloon a success.
Applications are available at Wilmont city hall.