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Anderson and Anderson dedicate selves to Ole's food, clientele

MAIDEN ROCK --- Ole may be one-half of those Norwegian jokes which poke fun at him and his spouse, Lena, but the new managers of Ole's Bar and Grill are determined to avoid anyone thinking of their establishment as a joke.

Chuck Anderson and Gwen Anderson (no relation, though they're dating) assumed management at the downtown Maiden Rock fixture early this month. While her first bartending job was also there when Dick and Sue Kraft were the owners, Gwen Anderson didn't want to acknowledge any additional stints at the premises.

"We're dedicated to the clientele and serving the best possible food," she said Thursday of her and her partner's incoming regime.

They intend to cater to all of their communities: the bikers, the boaters and especially the local one, she said. This is her introduction to managing and all the responsibility accompanying it, but she feels confident her 18 years of experience as a bartender (off and on) will serve her well.

"I especially enjoy schmoozing with everyone," she said.

The manager said she can draw on a staff of seven, including a volunteer cook and that other Anderson, whom she must share with his regular job. They'll cover hours seven-days-a-week, from 10 a.m. to closing Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to closing Saturdays and Sundays. The bar and grill's suppliers are from Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire and Menomonie.

As for food, the new owners aim to keep the grill open until one-half hour before closing, she said. Thursday's menu attraction was lasagna with cheese and garlic biscuits, Tuesday's specialty is tacos and the Friday fish fry offers tilapia as an entrée.

Customers don't necessarily have any particular favorite beer, but the place is known for its Bloody Caesars, Gwen Anderson said. She agreed they like to enjoy these out on the adjacent patio, with its beautiful view of Lake Pepin. The outdoor spot will soon be busy again with the approaching warm weather.

Indoors, seating is to be expanded by removing a pool table in favor of new seats at the back of the business, she said. Combined with those at the bar and in the front, she estimated the outlet can seat 25-30, noting there's room for standing at peak patronage times, too.

Ole's patrons can still find video arcade games and TVs inside. Chuck Anderson, via speakerphone from his employment site, promised the new management is committed to providing fun. A grand opening party is scheduled for this Saturday, he said.

Gwen Anderson said she met Chuck Anderson, who rides motorcycle, a year-and-a-half ago at Ole's. She's a native of Plum City and he's from Inver Grove Heights, Minn. Since graduating from high school, she's bartended at Nybo's in Red Wing, and at Elmwood and Durand, among other locations.

Ole's Bar and Grill is open seven-days-a-week, from 10 a.m. to closing Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to closing Saturdays and Sundays.