Just in time for the holidays and the start of snowmobiling season, Ohde’s Pub and Prime is once again open for business. The first reports of this newly remodeled restaurant have been stellar. Not only has the décor been stepped up creating an elegant but comfortable feel and 25 additional seats, the kitchen was moved and expanded and 23 seats have been added to the cocktail lounge area. The cocktail area now has an intimate socializing area, perfect for a before dinner cocktail and appetizer.
This has been a tough year for the iconic restaurant. First there was the COVID-19 shut down. Then three weeks after their April 21 re-opening, a fire in the dining room closed the restaurant and reconstruction took several months.
Because of the nature of the fire, walls had to be taken down to the studs. With major construction efforts underway, they decided that it was time to tackle the small kitchen and restaurant expansion to create their ideal restaurant.
“Being a builder, the building part was easy for us,” Bob said. “I wish it had never happened and I tell people, if you are dealt lemons, squeeze out and make some lemonade. You just have to deal with what you got and no one was to blame. We addressed it right away.”
The rebuild required state permits that created very frustrating, month-long waits during construction. Finally, on Nov 18, they reopened Pub and Prime’s doors. “We opened on the 18th,” recalled Bob. “The 17th at midnight, we were working here in the dining room. We still had a ways to go but we did get the entry way buttoned up.”
The low-key opening was by design as they were implementing new work standards. The plan appears to be working as kudos are pouring out from their patrons over the last three weeks.
“It’s gotten a good rapport from a lot of people who like the different atmosphere. Even the staff, it has given them a positive feel to come back to something that is new. It’s more a bubbly feeling and that is something we are after,” smiled Bob. “It really is rewarding to hear the compliments from people about how nice things are. I think it turned out pretty nice.”
“One of the biggest pluses is when we found out we could open the doors, came when we called around to find out who was coming back. After being off of work for that long time it’s hard for people to survive. A lot of our staff came back instantly while a few said they had things to take care of and they would be back.”
Of course COVID-19 also threw big challenges their way. When they first began take out dining, they were thrilled with 200 orders for a Saturday evening. Bob says they are dealing with this complicated situation.
“There is an interesting part of our society. There are still a lot of people who refuse to go out to eat. There are other people who have put it behind them. They say, ‘It’s going to be what it’s going to be,’ We want our guests to know that we don’t require face masks. Everyone is welcome to wear a mask. We tell people if they want socially distanced seating we can definitely can seat them in a spot that will work with that.
“We are going to let the guests be guests and do what they want to do when they come in. We understand that there are people who won’t come in because of the COVID. We get that, we understand that. We are happy to have the guests that we have.” Bob explained.
“We are also still getting takeouts because of the COVID. I wasn’t sure how that would work out but I was very surprised how well it did. People said it was very good.”
Bob and Dee said that right now they are concentrating on training the staff to provide more consistent and high quality service. Bob points out that their objective is to provide a social, leisurely supper club experience with excellent service in addition to high quality dining in a great atmosphere. With Bob’s 30 years of business experience, he knows excellence is something that demands constant attention and work.
Whether dining with a party or just the two of you, experience one of the area’s finest dining establishments. See you there!
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