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By Amber Hayden
GLENWOOD CITY — For Kent Kletscher there had not been much thought to opening a business in Glenwood City, but now that Wood City Tavern is up and running he has made several plans for the near future.
Kletscher, however, does not reside in Glenwood City. He and his family, wife Heidi, and daughters Olivia who is 18 and Charlotte who is eight, have lived in Superior since 2007, and he stays in Baldwin with Nick Pack. He had at one time lived in River Falls but that was as close as he came to Glenwood City.
Nick Pack still owns the building where the tavern is located, and he had contacted Kent in either January or February, asking him to come down to Glenwood City and re-open his bar.
“I kind of laughed at him, because no one wants to open a bar,” Kletscher said. “But we talked more and more and tried to see if there was a vision to maybe make it work.”
In July of 2019, Kletscher had begun to work on the tavern and has been connected to Glenwood City since that time.
Previously Kletscher had owned and operated the golf course in Poplar and was unsure if he had wanted to own or run his own business.
But his friend, Jim Nixon, who owns Broz in River Falls decided to purchase the tavern. Things moved forward from zero to sixty, and Wood City was opened two weeks later.
Kletscher, along with Shelby, who works at the tavern, opened the tavern during the weekend of Rustic Lore in September and ran the business between the two of them, working upward of 118 hours out of a possible 168 in a work week.
“I was gone for a week on vacation, the employee costs can be expensive,” he said. “And in a small town like this, no matter if your food is amazing, not everyone is going to come in and eat a burger every day. So sometimes you have to be the one doing all the work.”
Since September, Kletscher has hired seven employees, but said he still works anywhere from 70 to 80 hours a week, and even when he isn’t at the tavern his mind is always on the business.
Wood City Tavern has kept him busy for the most part, and if you want to succeed, you have to put in the work that is involved, Kletscher said.
“Business has been good, better than I expected,” Kletscher explained. “Weekends have been pretty good, and depending, Mondays are usually hit or miss. But the town has been really good to us.”
There are also daily specials offered, tacos on Tuesday, boneless wings on Wednesday, and burger baskets on Thursday, all of which cost $5, and that is an inexpensive meal, reasonably priced, according to Kletscher, for anyone on a budget or not.
“We have everything ranging from your normal boring taco to Bourbon chicken tacos. We try to make something a little different,” Kletscher said. “And there are nine different sauces you can put on your boneless wings.”
Items offered at the tavern are the typical foods found in a bar, burgers and appetizers, Kletscher explained, with a few specialty items already offered and more to come. There is a fish fry on Friday nights, Saturdays will have different options with this past Saturday being a prime rib buffet, and last Sunday was the start of the breakfast buffet from 9 a.m. to noon.
The burgers are fresh, hand-cut, half-pound patties, and are pretty good in Kletscher’s opinion.
“Just your typical items you would find in your tavern in Wisconsin, that’s what we serve,” Kletscher said. “Maybe a couple of other options.”
During the spring, Kletscher plans to replace the front windows so that they will match, and will also look at renovating the bar top for a winter project.
“There is always something that is going on,” he said. “Our busy time is usually in the evenings between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., but with hunting season it has pushed it back just a little.”
There have been several requests from members of the community from wanting more specials, and most recently the request has been for pizza.
But Kletscher said with a small kitchen, the pizza request will take some time. “If we do something we want to do it well, and I just don’t think we are set up to do it yet,” he commented.
“Everyone has said that it is nice to have a place to come and eat,” Kent said. “The long-term goal is to be here for a while. There has been a lot of turnover in the past and I would like to be a little more stable.”
Kletscher stated the tavern will be around for a while and that he has big visions to grow the business and be there for the community to come after football and basketball games.
He also prides himself on the tavern being family-friendly and that families don’t have to worry about a rowdy crowd coming in.
Wood City Tavern is located at 115 E. Oak St in Glenwood City and is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. with the kitchen open until 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. with the kitchen open until 10 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. with the kitchen open until 10 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to midnight with the kitchen open until 9 p.m.
Kletscher did state on slower nights they will close early, but alcohol is served until closing each night. Wood City Tavern can be contacted through their FaceBook account or at 715-565-3520.