The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

September 29, 2008

Timber Lodge to reopen under new name

Will now be called Northwoods Cafe and Grill

MANKATO — Mankato’s former Timber Lodge Steakhouse restaurant will re-open with a new name, new ownership and cheaper entrees.

Mark Herrmann, who managed the restaurant for four years before its abrupt July closing, will return as the owner of the Northwoods Cafe and Grill, which has no connection to Timber Lodge.

The new restaurant, slated to open Jan. 12, will serve three meals a day with a menu that’s similar except for a lack of expensive dinners, which Herrmann blames in part for Timber Lodge’s closure.

Timber Lodge filed bankruptcy in 2006.

“We did a really good job there, but that wasn’t the point,” he said. “The point was that people weren’t going to eat there all the time” because of entrees in the $20 to $30 range.

An economy that left people “minding their pennies” didn’t help either.

In addition, Herrmann said the restaurant was sold a few years ago, and the higher rents made it more difficult to eke out a profit.

This time around, Herrmann will lease the building but believes his six years in Mankato will help the Northwoods Cafe and Grill succeed where the Timber Lodge didn’t.

That means reducing dinner prices, with the most expensive entree priced at about $13.

In place of the bar, Hermann plans to operate a gift shop that will sell jams, jellies, antiques, candles and other goods that evoke the north woods. The gift shop is slated to open the day after Thanksgiving.

The restaurant will also sell smoked prime rib.

In his new role, Herrmann said he’s putting “a lot on the line,” and acknowledges that it’s a lot of work.

But “I believe people will come.”

On the Web: To check out a menu similar to the new restaurant’s, visit Herrmann plans to visit Jensen’s Cafe and become more familiar with its food.

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