Thursday, Aug. 31st, 2017

The Informalist Defines "Farm-To-Table" in Tasty Video

The Informalist – a farm-to-table eatery in downtown Eau Claire’s Lismore Hotel – decided to show its customers exactly what “farm-to-table” means with a fun video showing off some of the people and places that make it happen.

Between gorgeous footage of local farmland and downtown Eau Claire, you meet some of the key players that make a restaurant like The Informalist hum. You hear from the owner (Zach Halmstad) and the front of house manager (Amy O’Connor), and you get to see the cooks and staff at work. But one of the best interviews features Executive Chef Amy Huo talking about the ethical and sustainable role the restaurant plays in our community. Seeing the actual chef behind the food you eat and hearing her culinary philosophy is ... well, it's pretty cool. It keeps us connected to our meals and the place we call home.

Like many local businesses, The Informalist is tied directly to the health, wellbeing, and development of downtown Eau Claire – its buildings and its people – so it’s great to see how much care they take in building that relationship.

This post was produced through a partnership with The Informalist in downtown Eau Claire. Learn more!

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Five Guys to Open in Oakwood Mall?

In a Facebook post yesterday, Eau Claire's Oakwood Mall announced that popular burger and fries restaurant chain Five Guys would be opening a store in the mall. No word on how soon, but Betsy Maher, the general manager with General Growth Property (which owns the mall), told News 18 construction of the new place should start in early September.

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Wednesday, Aug. 30th, 2017

Vinyl Me, Please Names Revival Records "Best Record Store in Wisconsin"

Part of a series on the best record store in each state, music blog Vinyl Me, Please has a fantastic column on Revival Records, calling it the best in Wisconsin. Check it out:

... Revival began like a lot of records stores: with a genuine love of music and what it could offer for the people who could get their hands on it. While there’s always been a supportive creative community in Eau Claire, many more residents—and eventually people from all over—began to recognize it, support it and participate in it, giving creative projects and places like Revival Records resources to develop—and a lot of us got the humble pleasure of growing along with it. ...

Read the rest from former local Amileah Sutliff!

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Friday, Aug. 25th, 2017

CityLab Profiles Eau Claire


CityLab is a big deal. An offshoot of The Atlantic – yes, that Atlantic  – the online publication is "committed to telling the story of the world’s cities: how they work, the challenges they face, and the solutions they need." They cover the ins and outs and innovations of community development across the globe. Their case studies serve as inspiration for city planners and stakeholders, sparking creative designs and programs in city development. So when CityLab writes about Eau Claire, as they did today, it means there's something interesting going on here. 

Their profile joins the steady stream of national media covering our city. But before you read their story, a word on the title: "How Bon Iver Saved Eau Claire." Yes. It's a bit of a groaner. And while the importance and impact of a certain earnest local musician (and his band) (and his music festival) should never be underestimated, any local who's been paying attention can tell you there's a lot more at play here. But hey, we understand editors need catchy titles, so we'll give it a pass. 

Thankfully, that's not what the article's about. 

City Lab traces the city's industrial and economic drivers through a number of ups and downs, landing at our current situation, riding the momentum of recent downtown development. They touch on the roles played by our city planners, RCU, Phoenix Park, JAMF, Banbury Place, UW-Eau Claire, and of course, the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival. They also spoke with local individuals who moved here to start new businesses. 

None of these recent articles really have the space to dig deep into the many, many factors (and people) propelling Eau Claire's recent progress, but as we've said before, we'll take all the attention we can get – as long as no one sees it as a finish line.

Grabbing CityLab's attention is important, but there's plenty more work to be done.

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Tuesday, Aug. 22nd, 2017

Chippewa Valley Restaurant Week - Sept. 15–24

HUNGRY YET? Chippewa Valley Restaurant Week is coming! For ten days in September (15–24), dozens of local restaurants will join together for a huge celebration of local eats. You'll get access to special menus, deals, and contests – and invites to unique food-themed events raising money for community causes. A few details:

➜ Check out
➜ Attend the First Taste Culinary Crawl kickoff event (and Feed My People Food Bank benefit) on September 14
➜ See the restaurants and deals
➜ Win a trip to Mexico (and other contests)
➜ Stay tuned on Facebook and Instagram

Chippewa Valley Restaurant Week is co-presented by Volume One and the Chippewa Valley Technical College's Culinary Management Program.


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Tuesday, Aug. 15th, 2017

Thrillist Calls Eau Claire One Of "America's Best Small Cities to Move to Before They Get Too Popular"

Here we go again! Online publication Thrillist – which has written positively about Eau Claire in at least two other articles – has included Eau Claire on a list of "America's Best Small Cities to Move to Before They Get Too Popular." I guess this is the natural evolution of this kind of coverage.

It's not a huge write up, and it's a pretty superficial look at the city, but it's the latest in a long list of national and state publications turning a spotlight on Eau Claire for a number of reasons – as both a travel destination and a place to live. Some stories are more in-depth than others (and some are downright clickbaity) but you can't deny that we've been getting a lot of attention lately.

If you're wondering exactly what the means to us as locals – and if you should care – check out an editorial written by Volume One Editor/Publisher Nick Meyer: Eau Claire Is Making National Headlines. Here's What That Means and Why You Should Care.

In the meantime, here's what Thrillist has to say …

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Beer, trails, and a world-class music festival at your doorstep
Population: 68,300

If you want to make friends in this life -- real friends, the sort you’ll hang with for the rest of your days -- then spend a few winters two hours from Minneapolis. The upper Midwestern folks here have a knack for making the most of that dreary, dark season. You’ll still see bikes (with snow tires) commuting in negative temperatures, which at first may seem insane but eventually... you kind of get it. Duck out of the snow and into a warm, toasty bar -- Water Street is saturated with them -- for a pint of Lazy Monk IPA or New Glarus Spotted Cow. Eat some cheese curds, play a board game or 200, and let the winter roll on by, as it always manages to do.

Once spring rolls around, everyone starts peeling the sleeves off their pale-ass torsos and preparing to smash their way into a temperate, gorgeous summer together. The Chippewa River runs through this city, with loads of trails, parks, even beaches, and a shiny waterfront downtown is rolling in locally owned shops and locally sourced eats. June brings about the Eaux Claires music festival, started in 2015 by Wisconsin’s own Justin Vernon, where local artists share a bill with such little-known acts as Vernon's Bon Iver, Wilco, and Paul Simon. -- Kylie Maxcy

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Wednesday, Aug. 9th, 2017

The Oxbow Hotel's New Video Is a Love Letter to Eau Claire

Just yesterday The Oxbow Hotel – the new downtown boutique hotel that completely transformed the block where the troubled Green Tree Inn was just a few years ago – posted a new video showing a couple enjoying what downtown Eau Claire has to offer. But the film looks like more than just a commercial for the hotel – it's a love letter to Eau Claire and where it’s heading right now.

The hotel writes: "Downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin is changing. Music, art, food, drinks, trails, rivers, and events are shifting the culture. As a newly relaunched boutique property, The Oxbow Hotel sits at the intersection of our community's past, present, and future. Join us, either overnight or at The Lakely, and experience the new direction."

Sure, the video is meant to entice people into visiting the hotel or their farm-to-table restaurant, The Lakely – but when it makes the town look this good, we all win. It shows the couple exploring town on bikes and kayaks, eating and drinking with friends, listening to records, and taking in that big Shouting Matches concert right on the street before this summer's Eaux Claires fest.

And the localness doesn't stop there. The narration for the video is an excerpt from the Chippewa Valley-based author Nickolas Butler's New York Times best-selling novel "Shotgun Lovesongs." It's read by James Diers, the lead musician behind Halloween Alaska and Love-cars, two Minneapolis-based bands that have strong ties to the Eau Claire scene. And of course the music is by Eau Claire band The Shouting Matches, whose members appear in the video as well.

Along with the Oxbow ownership team, the video was created in large part by Anthony Casonova, a former local who grew up in Eau Claire but is now based in Chicago. Casonova and two friends came up for a couple weekends to shoot the video thanks to support from their employer, Guy Bauer Productions. 

This post was produced through a partnership with The Oxbow Hotel in downtown Eau Claire. Learn more!

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Tuesday, Aug. 8th, 2017

6 Wisconsin Roadside Attractions Not Too Far From Here

Sup, Chatty.
Sup, Chatty.

It’s summer and the great state of Wisconsin boasts a plethora of roadside attractions, which means it’s time to explore. Here’s a list of the six quirky attractions within a 100-mile radius of Eau Claire. Feel free to suggest more in the comments!

1. World’s Largest Talking Cow, Neillsville

Only in the Dairy State would you find the World’s Largest Talking Cow. Seven times larger than an average cow, Chatty Belle has something more valuable than size: her voice. Although it’s been reported that she’s lost her voice, Chatty Belle is still a Holstein to see. Find Chatty on Facebook.

2. Rock in the House, Fountain City

The 55-ton boulder that plowed its way through a house may have chased a married couple out of their home, but it has its perks. The Rock in the House has been granted a historical preservation permit, allowing visitors to walk through the house, exploring and reading about other local disasters. Who knew a 55-ton boulder could be such an object of special character. Learn more.

3. F.A.S.T. Fiberglass Mold Graveyard, Sparta

Nothing’s stranger than a bunch of giant, abandoned fiberglass objects ... unless you make an attraction out of it. FAST Corporation has kept molds from almost every job they’ve ever done, leaving them littered in a field behind the workshop. Visit and stroll among the eerie collection of weathered fiberglass objets, animals, and ... other things. Learn more.

4. Forest of Chainsaw Totem Poles, Medford

With over 400 chainsaws lodged in more than 20 telephone poles, you might think Leatherface is nearby. Instead, a roadside firewood business sits, welcoming visitors to view their lumberjack art – now all you need is a beard and a flannel and you’ll feel right at home at the Forest of Chainsaw Totem Poles. Learn more.

5. Jurustic Park, Marshfield

Home to several extinct, iron-made creatures that inhabited McMillan Marsh, Jurustic Park is a beastie filled sculpture garden. Explore the park and view the sculptures all made from found antique objects. Unlike Jurassic Park, these creatures aren’t harmful. They also have a Hobbit House. Learn more.

6. World’s Largest Six-Pack, La Crosse

You might call the big six-pack in La Crosse one of the granddaddies of Wiscosnin roadside attractions. There’s a sign in front stating the World’s Largest Six-Pack would fill 7 million twelve-ounce cans, which would provide one person a six-pack a day for approximately 3,351 years. That seems like a lot ... even for a Wisconsinite. Learn more.

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Monday, Aug. 7th, 2017

We're Moving the Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll!

For the last decade, right about this time of the year we’d tell you voting was now open for our big, huge Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll. Well, for the many, many thousands of you who vote every year – things are changing.

We’re moving our annual Best Of poll – and the massive issue that goes with it – to better reflect the calendar year. Our new tradition will be this: Voting starts in December, and the results issue comes out the first week of February. It's perfect timing to explore what was really good throughout the whole previous year, and to preview the year ahead. But what’s more, we’re also amping up the Best Of results issue to a whole new level and throwing a big ol’ party at The Lismore to go with it. We think you’re going to love the change (and the killer party), so sit tight and get your clicker finger ready to vote in December as the year wraps up.

In the meantime, whether you’re a voter or up for an award, beware of any Chippewa Valley “Best Of” imposters with a similar-sounding poll. Unfortunately a knock-off is out there, but it’s not the real deal. Only the Volume One Reader Poll has seen nearly one million individual votes from the community over the last ten years. It’s the poll you know and the poll you trust, from the Chippewa Valley’s largest independently-owned and operated media group: Volume One.

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Wednesday, Aug. 2nd, 2017

Viva Bon Mexico

Hmm. Today, Bon Iver released detailed plans for "Days Have No Numbers" –  a four-day "concert vacation” at the Hard Rock Hotel in Riveria Maya, Mexico on January 21-25, 2018. Limited to just 2,500 attendees, the event will be sort of like a mini-Eaux Claires at a tropical resort on the dreamy shores of the Caribbean Sea.

Pretty much the whole musical lineup is Eaux alumni with acts like Sylvan Esso, POLIÇA, Francis and the Lights, Hiss Golden Messenger, Melt-Banana, Spank Rock, Aero Flynn, Phil Cook, Dizzy Fae, Velvet Negroni, Amy Warehouse, Hrrrbek and more special guests coming along for the trip. Bon Iver itself will play three separate shows, and there will be three stages in different spaces of the resort.

So the idea is you stay at the resort, explore the Mayan Riviera, maybe go snorkeling or zip-lining during the day, followed by daily yoga sessions, workshops, interactive games, maybe you'd hit the spa or spend time by the beach. Then on top of all that, you get to be dazzled by a super eclectic slate of artists, music festival style. Tickets – which run $1,500 to $3,500ish – go on sale on August 10. So, there are a few numbers associated with these particular days.

To learn more and buy tickets, head to

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