Pandemic causes change of plans for duo, leads them to Lansing Corners

Published 9:00 pm Friday, September 3, 2021

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The COVID-19 pandemic very nearly derailed the plans of Steve Patterson and Brian Miller last year.

The duo was set to open a bar and grill, complete with a brewery, in Rochester when the pandemic interrupted their designs.

However, Patterson and Miller weren’t deterred, and when provided the opportunity, they forged ahead. That opportunity was Lansing Corners, and now they are on the verge of opening Lansing Corners Bar & Grill, a departure from the location’s previous history as a supper club.

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“It’s going to be a bar and grill and we’re going to be holding different entertainment events,” Patterson said from a table inside the location on Wednesday. “Typical bar stuff. We’re here and we’re committed.”

Patterson and Miller are looking to open the location in the near future. When they do, they will be open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday, Monday and Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays. They will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesdays.

However, the location won’t simply be a bar and grill. A love of brewing will bring a brewery to the site.

“I learned to brew beer to make money and fell in love with the community,” Miller said from Patterson’s cell phone as he drove to the bar and grill. “I wanted to be a part of it.”

The owners are hoping the brewery portion will be up and running by 2023. When it is, it will feature a line of different beers from porters to IPAs.

Patterson and Miller began their relationship a number of years ago when going to school and working at a Kwik Trip in Winona.

After some time and talking, they started making plans for the future that would first lead them to Rochester.

“We hit it off and five years down the road, we got a wild hair and decided to start a business,” Miller said.

With a plan in place, they started developing their ideas and were ready to go and break ground on construction. But then the pandemic came and the pair took a significant hit.

But opportunity paved the way for another chance.

“This building was here,” Patterson said, pointing out that the establishment was a good halfway point for Miller, who lives in Albert Lea, and Patterson, who lives in Rochester. “It needed a lot of renovation, but it’s here. It was in our price range and so we pivoted.”

Miller, who drove by the site often while driving a route for Frito-Lay, agreed.

“I thought it was a cool building and I thought it was a cool location right off the highway that you could see for quite awhile,” Miller said.

A business mentor of Patterson and Miller’s in Rochester also pointed them toward Lansing Corners.

“He said, ‘I’ve got an opportunity for you guys,’ and we’re open to opportunity,” Patterson said. “That’s how things happen.”

The building came with 5,000 more square feet than they were really looking for, but they plan on continuing to rent out the event space.

The property also comes with a wealth of open space, perfect for outdoor opportunities during the spring, summer and fall. A vast track of lawn to the west of the main building stretches along that edge of the property.

The food they are looking to serve will be your standard American fare — burger baskets, appetizers and a sirloin steak sandwich. All the things needed for a proper bar and grill.

The owners are also quick to note that they are in this for the long haul with a will to establish themselves as a part of Austin’s culture. And they are seeing support from the community as well.

“Austin has been easier to start a business in than Rochester,” Patterson said. “People want us here and it’s such a nice feeling to have a city and county community that’s supporting us.”

“I just know it’s going to work,” Miller said.

While there’s no specific date planned for an opening, Patterson and Miller are expecting to hold a grand opening next spring. For now, you can visit them on their Facebook page at for more on their opening.