Lena’s Lucky Star offers Stockholm new restaurant options
Lena is slowly becoming a staple resident in Stockholm. Her smiling face can be seen when tourists and locals alike drive down the Great River Road, in rain or sunshine. Her blonde braids are tucked up into a trapper cap, and she’s wearing Ugg boots -- items that show “she knows how to withstand the cold winters of Wisconsin,” as described by Rebecca Pope.
Pope is the owner of Lena’s Lucky Star, formerly Gelly’s Pub & Eatery, where the theme of the restaurant is centralized around the concept of Lena.
“Lena represents all the strong women who make it through the winters and want to stay here and love the area,” said Pope, noting the presence of women-owned businesses in the area.
The area of Stockholm is one steeped in genealogical heritage. In the 1800’s the village acted as “stopover for Scandinavian immigrants,” according to the history of Stockholm as listed on the village’s website. This history is made clearly evident even in the name of the village itself.
Lena then becomes even more appropriate for her setting.
The star possessed by Lena can be seen a short distance from her, and is the old Texaco sign from when the restaurant was a gas station.
The legacy of Gelly’s Bar and Pub can still be seen around the restaurant, and it is a goal of Pope’s to keep some of its vibe around.
Food and libations are a mix of the new and the old. When Pope took over the lease, certain secret recipes were included. This means that local favorites, bloody marys and Rocky Mountain margaritas will still be on the menu.
Other staples will remain on the menu as well, like burgers, as Pope recognizes the need for all types of food to serve the area. She also has the goal of offering fresh locally sourced food, and is even working on building a garden in the back of the restaurant.
"It's just healthier for people," said Pope about sourcing food locally. "It helps the economy of everyone around us, including the small, young farmers."
That local support is another proponent that Pope, and Lena are big fans of.
The signs that Lena calls home were a collaboration effort by two local artists. The decor, which is Scandinavian inspired, was designed by a local decorator.
Pope’s connection to the local community may be rooted in her love for the area.
"When I moved to Wisconsin, I found my roots finally after meandering nomadically throughout the world," said Pope. "It's wonderful to be here."
Pope lives on a farm in the area and restored the historic Stockholm Hotel down the street from Lena’s. She started out as the realtor for the former owners of Gelly’s before deciding to take on the restaurant herself.
Former owners Wayne and Di Gelhar feel that the pub was a spot for the people, and took pride in that feel that they built around it.
“Without question Gelly's signature was its all inclusiveness. No individual, group or age, was not welcome,” said the Gelhars.
They felt that the spot was special, and that Pope as the new owner has an opportunity to continue this.
“We feel the new owner to be has all the determination and will to make a go of it, we hope she does,” they said. “Everyone wants a place to go to and this has been it for many, for some time.”