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By Missy Klatt
GLENWOOD CITY — If you’ve been down on the west end of Glenwood City’s Oak Street in the past few months, you’ve probably noticed that there is no longer a bar by the name of Boondocks. Instead, Fiddler’s Green Bar and Grill has taken its place.
New owners Rich and LaNae Salsbury said that had they known the history of it being called the Boondocks they probably wouldn’t have changed it, but since they didn’t find out about it until afterwards it was kind of too late.
Rich and LaNae moved to New Richmond in 2009 from the Twin Cities. This is the first bar they have owned but have owned some other businesses previously. Rich has worked in bars for years as a bartender, bouncer, DJ, and manager so he brings a lot of experience to his new role as owner-operator.
The couple’s 28-year-old son, Chris joins them in this family business as the head cook. Chris has worked in bars and restaurants over the years and trained as a chef at ‘Fore Paugh’s’ – a high end French restaurant in St. Paul. They also have a nephew, Kenny, who works at the bar as well as their youngest daughter Leandra. Rich and LaNae have four children in total, ranging in age from 18-30.
The name, Fiddler’s Green, has special meaning to Rich and LaNae in more ways than one. Rich belongs to a Veterans group in central Wisconsin and friends of Rich had a bar called Fiddler’s Green in Marshfield. He said that unfortunately it shut down eight or nine years ago and when they were looking at buying this bar he asked his friend if he would mind if they named their bar Fiddler’s Green.
There is also a military reference to the name stated Rich. “It ties back to a World War I poem that even today Calvary scouts have to memorize. So the Fiddler’s Green part of that is more towards the veteran’s reference.”
The couple has flags from all the military branches hanging above the bar.
“We’re very much a veterans’ support type of establishment. That’s what we wanted. That’s kind of what we’re going for,” noted Rich who went on to say that they have had really good feedback from veterans that have come in that recognize the name as being a military reference. Chris remarked that they had people pull off the road when they saw the sign and stopped in to see if indeed it was a “veteran-type” bar.
As to why they bought the bar during a pandemic, Rich commented that it actually was a reasonable purchase. Not to take advantage of anybody but the previous owners, Lisa and Aaron Moede, were looking to get out of the business and they were looking to get into the business so the timing was right. The Salsburys have worked in this industry for a while for other people so the idea was to start making some money for themselves and make it a family business.
Trying not to step on the toes of the other bars in town the Salsburys have Taco Wednesdays and Wing Tuesdays but of course they have some overlap as they just haven’t had time to check out all the other bars in the area due to the long hours they have been putting into the business. Besides working at the bar, Rich also has a full time job. Fortunately for him, he does most of that work online right now and he has become the bar’s closer.
Fiddler’s Green is open seven days a week and serves breakfast on Saturday and Sundays starting at 9 a.m. The rest of the week the bar opens at 11:00 a.m. and runs till 2:00 or 2:30 a.m.
All of the food is made fresh, no frozen hamburger patties or pizzas. Right now they serve the typical bar food; burgers, pizzas and munchies as well as homemade chili and soup. The menu keeps changing as more items are added. The plan is to take the apartment that is attached out back and put in a full-size commercial kitchen, new bathrooms and expand the seating. All of this will take a while with the kitchen being the top priority.
With the pandemic and all the business that went under during it, Rich was able to purchase all the kitchen equipment they needed at online auctions. They have just started doing some demolition to get the kitchen ready. There are also plans to make some improvements to their outside space. There is no specific time frame for all the improvements. It will be a work in progress as the business grows.
Despite the long hours, LaNae said that it has been super fun so far. “It’s been great getting to know the people in this town and making friends.”
Rich said he was actually familiar with Boondocks before they bought it from the time when his daughter showed at the St. Croix County Fair which is literally located right across the street. He said he stopped in a few times to have a beer during those years. So when they were actively looking for bars to purchase and Boondocks came up Rich stated; “It was such a great fit for us, not too big, not too small. Great small-town atmosphere.”
“Not too far from home” Chris chimed in.
LaNae loves the flexibility of running their own bar. She explained that recently they turned on the Karaoke on a Sunday afternoon. Usually they do it on Saturday nights but somebody wanted to do it on Sunday. She said they had six or eight couples dancing and singing. “It was so much fun.” Rich loves mixing drinks and trying new concoctions. To him, that is fun.
After a recent visit from Darren Tuttle, who brought some photos of when the Bar was Tut’s Boondocks, Rich is very keen to get some more old photos of the bar. He would like to create a “history wall” of photos to display on one wall to showcase the bar throughout the years. If anyone has any such photos, Rich would love to have them or make copies of them.
The Salsburys are excited to be a part of the Glenwood City community.