Bar and grill reopens with new owners and new name in Conger

Published 10:04 am Tuesday, April 4, 2023

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By Kim Gooden, for the Tribune

CONGER — An area bar and grill has changed hands, and the new owners couldn’t be happier.

“Steve always wanted to own his own business and he always wanted to cook,” said Erin Grunzke, partner and co-owner with Steve Barrett of the Conger Bar and Grill, formerly Somewhere Else, in Conger.

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Grunzke said Barrett considered a food truck at first, but they decided they needed a steadier way to do both.

So when Grunzke’s grandmother, Barb Grunzke, told them that the former owners were interested in selling it, they jumped at the opportunity to purchase the business and took over on Dec. 1.

Barrett had some experience in food service, having managed different places in the past. Now he is running the bar and grill full time, serving as manager, cook and bartender. Grunzke, who operates a day care during the day, helps out with bartending on nights and weekends.

With almost four months of operation behind them, both Barrett and Grunzke agreed that the response to them as new owners and operators has been very positive.

“We’re really thankful for how supportive Conger and the surrounding communities have been,” they said.

In return, they do what they can to support the community, including donating a percent of their sales from March 26 through April 1 to the Conger Fire Department.

They also support the community by keeping things local.

“We get all our meat from Conger Meat Market,” Barrett said.

So far, Barrett and Grunzke have only made a few changes to the décor of the bar and grill and added some new burgers to the menu, but they hope to make a few more changes and improvements.

“We hope to do some live music events, purchase patio furniture and update the parking lot,” Grunzke said.

“And next fall we’d like to get a couple dart boards for league play,” Barrett added.

For now, they are part of a traveling bean bag league and host bingo on Tuesday nights and Saturday afternoons.

They also plan to try opening for noon lunches during planting and harvest seasons so farmers can stop in and pick up meals on the go.

Currently their hours are 3 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to close Friday, 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday for breakfast and then until 1 a.m., and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday for breakfast and then until 8 p.m.

“We offer a full made-to-order breakfast menu,” Barrett said.

However, the bar and grill will be closed for breakfasts on April 9 and 16 due to the Conger Fire Department fundraising breakfast, Easter and the Walters Fire Department fundraising breakfast.

“Small towns have to stick together,” Barrett said.

To prove that point, Barrett said that many of the small bar owners in the surrounding area get together to talk about what they can do to help each other and keep all their businesses going.

“There’s no reason we can’t all work together to help each other,” he said.

Nightly specials at Conger Bar & Grill include Monday Burger Night, Tuesday Chef’s Choice, Wednesday Steak and Chops, Thursday Philly Cheese Steak and Friday Walleye dinner.

The Conger Bar and Grill Facebook page is updated daily for specials or early closings due to weather.

Customers Arik and Megan Matson had positive things to say about the bar and grill.

“They have quick service, great food and affordable prices,” Arik Matson said.

Megan Matson added, “They offer a welcoming and accommodating family atmosphere, and there are lots of kids around here.”

And if long-time customers are lucky, they may catch a glimpse of Grunzke’s grandmother, Barb, who grew up nextdoor to the bar before it became a bar and grill, and worked as a favorite bartender there for over 50 years.