Thursday, Jun. 23rd, 2016
The building that once housed Mike’s Smokehouse will become a new eatery this fall. The Public House Kitchen and Catering is the latest venture by Jack Schulte, who is currently general manager at Yankee Jack’s at Princeton Valley Golf Course and previously spent nearly 20 years at Sweetwaters. Schulte says remodeling will begin in July at 2235 N. Clairemont Ave., which was home to Mike’s from 1997 until the barbecue joint closed in early 2014. The Public House will be “kind of a Panera on steroids,” with homemade soups, salads, and unique sandwiches, as well as blue-plate specials, Schulte says. The establishment will also have eight tap beers, including local brews from the likes of Lucette, Sand Creek, and the Brewing Projekt. In addition, the restaurant will offer scones, muffins, and gourmet coffee starting at 7am each day and will serve Sunday brunch. Schulte plans to operate his catering business out of the restaurant’s expansive kitchen as well. You can expect drastic remodeling inside and out before The Public House opens to the public in October.
Monday, Jun. 20th, 2016
Check out The Local Store on Saturday, June 25 for a sale in celebration of the shop's 5th anniversary. There'll be free Honest Roast Coffee, snacks, and refreshments all day, 15-25% OFF storewide, AND you'll receive a $5 gift card when you spend $50 or more. The store will also host live, local music from Larry Past at 7pm and Elvessa at 8pm. See you there!
➜ The Local Store's 5th Anniversary Sale
The Local Store, 205 N. Dewey St., downtown Eau Claire
Saturday, June 25 • 9am-9pm
15-25% OFF storewide • $5 gift card when you spend $50 or more • free coffee and snacks • live music
AND ALSO: Online all day (Saturday, June 25 only), enter promo code ANNIVERSARY for 15% off site-wide.
Friday, Jun. 17th, 2016
In a move it said would improve patient care and reduce health care costs, Marshfield Clinic Health System announced Friday that it plans to build a hospital with an attached cancer care center near its Eau Claire campus on Eau Claire’s south side. Pending approval from the City of Eau Claire, ground will be broken for the hospital next spring at 1202 W. Clairemont Ave., the current site of the Plaza Hotel & Suites. Marshfield Clinic already owns the hotel, which will continue to operate through December before being demolished, according to a media release. The clinic announced that the cancer care center will open in the fall of 2017, which the hospital will tentatively open in 2018.
The hospital will be the fourth in the immediate Eau Claire area, joining HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital just a few blocks away, as well as Mayo Clinic Health System Eau Claire, and Oakleaf Surgical Hospital in Altoona.
“Data from the Wisconsin Hospital Association shows residents in Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley face some of the highest health care costs in the state, and building a new hospital puts MCHS in a strong position to start to change that,” said Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of Marshfield Clinic Health System. “Our ‘Caring for the Chippewa Valley’ program makes us a truly integrated local health care system. This allows MCHS to maximize efficiencies and start reducing patient costs while providing even higher quality care and a great patient experience.”
According to the media release, Marsfield Clinic officials are “in the process of evaluating and determining the optimal size and scope for the new hospital and will share more information, including an anticipated construction budget, when available.” The new cancer care center “is expected to be staffed by the same doctors, nurses and other employees currently working at the Marshfield Clinic Cancer Care at Sacred Heart Hospital. The new facility will feature more patient privacy, expanded clinical services and all the programs now offered at the existing center.”
Monday, Jun. 13th, 2016
What began as a pre-Christmas pop-up store for a handful of artists in downtown Chippewa Falls has evolved into a permanent space designed to promote and inspire creativity.
The Valley Art Gallery Co-op, 304 N. Bridge St., currently features the work of a dozen artists in nearly as many mediums: Inside, you’ll find acrylic and watercolor paintings, thrown pots and pasteboard jewelry, knitted scarves and carved gourds.
“We just think having an art gallery in a community just gives it some added value,” says Kris Crowe, president of the Valley Art Association and one of the artists whose work can be found in the gallery. But this isn’t just a look-and-don’t-touch gallery: The work here is on sale, ready to bring joy to your home and your life.
The gallery opened in December when Steve Rasmus offered an empty storefront to the Valley Art Association as a temporary retail space. After the holidays passed, some of the artists decided to keep the store open. It’s now run as a co-op, with the 12 exhibiting artists staffing the space and splitting the rent.
While the store has been discovered by many locals as well as visitors to Chippewa Falls’ picturesque downtown, the artists plan to promote themselves even more with the help of an open house on Saturday, June 18, from 10am to 5pm. The day will feature refreshments, drawings (each artist has donated a piece or two to give away), as well as make-and-take art projects.
The gallery itself is small but chock-full of two- and three-dimensional artwork, which you’ll find on walls, shelves, and free-standing displays. Painted caribou antlers share space with flower vases, wool bags, and scenic photographs. “It just attacks your senses,” Crowe explains. “It’s just a lot of color. It’s bright.”
Soon, the Valley Art Gallery will help people try their own hands at art. Beginning later this month, the gallery will begin offering classes ranging from Zen doodling to nuno felting to creating a journal. (For details on these and other classes, see the contact information below.)
Crowe hopes that the gallery can make a permanent home in downtown Chippewa Falls, either in its current storefront or in another one. (The building’s present location is slated for remodeling.) She says the store complements the revitalized downtown, which draws visitors with its shops, eateries, and attractions: The gallery is just across the street from the Mason Shoe Outlet Store and just down the street from the Chippewa Candy Shop.
Just as a new piece of artwork can enhance a room, the Valley Art Gallery Co-op is helping downtown Chippewa Falls look and feel even better.
Valley Art Gallery Co-op • 304 N. Bridge St., Chippewa Falls • Hours: Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 10am-5pm; and Thursdays 10am-6pm • for details on classes, call Kris Crowe at (715) 271-0607
A developer has proposed tearing down a commercial building in downtown Menomonie to erect a 51-room, four-story Cobblestone Hotel. Demolishing the building, which currently houses Black Thumb Glass (149 Main St. E) and Jeff’s Pizza Shop (145 Main St. E), will require an OK from the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, the Leader-Telegram reported. That’s because the building is part of a national historic district, so the commission must OK remodeling or new construction, the newspaper said. The commission was slated to discuss the matter at its meeting on Monday, June 13, after this edition of Volume One went to press. If the commission turns down the plan, the building’s owners – Keith St. LLC of Eau Claire – can appeal to the Menomonie City Council.
Thursday, Jun. 9th, 2016
Chillax, cats and kitties. Eau Claire popped up on yet another list of “best / worst / least / most fill-in-the-blank cites in America.” Take it as you will, but SmartAsset.com has named Eau Claire as the 5th least-stressed city in the United States. In fact, they say ...
Wisconsin wins. The only state to have two cities in our top ten was Wisconsin. Both Madison and Eau Claire cracked the top five, in fact. The two Badger State cities earned high marks for physical activity and hours slept, and had low negatives.
Madison was slotted in at 4th place, behind Duluth, MN (3rd); Iowa City, IA (2nd); and totally chill Boulder, CO (1st).
Northern states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Montana and North Dakota) generally fared well in the ranking. Columbia took 7th, Ann Arbor was 8th, and laidback Fargo reclined into 10th.
SmartAsset.com likes Eau Claire’s average commute time (under 15 minutes) and our average work-week of (35.4 hours). They say this gives our residents “plenty of time to kick back.” (Or ... look for a full time job?)
Madison is lauded for how much sleep they get down there, as well as its unemployment rate. Duluth was praised for having the “12th-shortest work-week of the 500 cities in our study.”
SmartAsset says they used a cocktail of positive and negative factors in their rankings. Positive attributes included high rates of physical activity, number of “entertainment establishments,” and and a high average of sleep hours. For the negative, they measured things like hours of work per week, commute lengths, bankruptcy rate, divorce rate, and unemployment rate. They studied 500 cities of 67,500 or higher. You can learn more about the other top 25 cities in the study right here.
Do you feel like we live in a low-stress community? Go ahead and leave a comment ...
Friday, Jun. 3rd, 2016
A newly announced $1.5 million challenge grant will put fundraising for the Confluence Arts Center over the top – as long as donors chip in another $1.5 million to meet the challenge it in the coming months. If met, the “Breaking New Ground” challenge will raise $3 million, which – coupled with the roughly $12.5 million already raised – will push private donations to nearly $16 million and allow groundbreaking to occur in September.
The challenge grant, which was announced by the project’s backers Thursday night at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council’s annual Jubilee fundraiser at the Florian Gardens, is backed by a group of anonymous donors who are eager to see the project succeed.
“We have received such tremendous support from so many who can see the future of our community through the construction of the Confluence Arts Center,” said Jill Barland, who co-chairs the fundraising committee with her husband, Tom. “This generous challenge match of $1.5 million is the final major endeavor to ensure we will indeed break ground in September. With the goal so close at hand, we believe there are people and companies who want to make this dream a reality and are ready to commit.”
Here’s how it will work: The challenge donors will match all pledges and gifts (up to $1.5 million) received by Sept. 30, and donors will have until Dec. 31 to make the first payments on their pledges. Pledges can be extended over five years, and they will be accepted by either the Eau Claire Community Foundation or the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Learn more by contacting Susan Bornick, executive director of the Community Foundation, at (715) 552-3801, or Kimera Way, president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, at (715) 836-5180. You can also visit communityfortheconfluence.org for more information.
The Confluence Arts Center will be a $45 million, 130,000-square-foot shared university-community facility on Graham Avenue in downtown Eau Claire near the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. The art center, which is slated to open by March 2018, will be funded by private donations as well as money from the state, city, and county.
Thursday, Jun. 2nd, 2016
It's an idea we've all had (and re-had) over and over (and over) for at least a decade: The speakers lining downtown Eau Claire's Barstow Street should play local music. Well, it looks like Downtown Eau Claire Inc. is be getting serious about swapping its muzak for original tunes from local bands.
Today DECI announced, "Downtown Eau Claire Inc. has partnered with the South Barstow Business Improvement District, Paul Brandt, and Audio Architects, Inc. to look into bringing local music downtown."
The current music programming (periodically switched for special events, but mostly set to hazy light jazz) is rarely praised. Over the years, we've published multiple articles about the mysterious origins of the jazzy notes trickling from the city's lamppost-mounted speakers, which were upgraded during the Barstow Street reconstruction of 2013.
But basically, there's a digital radio box in a closet in a downtown business.
Local musician and Eau Claire Music School teacher Paul Brandt has volunteered his time to spearhead this project. The South Barstow BID owns and controls the downtown system and Audio Architects, Inc. provides technical expertise. The Local Store is providing a huge catalog of digital tracks, already assembled from the shop's collection of local CDs and vinyl.
The project is in its very early stages. Brandt tells us his first step is contacting local musicians for approval.
Keep in mind that no one playlist of any kind of music will please all of downtown's residents, business owners, and patrons, but we do hope this new initiative results in an even better downtown experience.
Wednesday, Jun. 1st, 2016
There is a brand-new restaurant at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport, appropriately called Hangar 54 Grill, which serves a wide variety of unique and delicious dishes, including meat-based entrees made with specialty meats from Rump’s Butcher Shoppe in Altoona. Bob Adrian, who owns Rump’s, is a part owner of the new restaurant – along with Travis Dudley (formerly the chef at Fanny Hill) and Ryan Anderson – and he is very excited about the business.
Adrian said he was researching spots for a new restaurant, and that the airport location essentially chose them. The name, he explained, came along with it: “I wanted something that fit the location. I wanted a name that when people heard it they would have to assume it was in or at the airport. Hence the ‘Hangar’ part of the name. The ‘54’ came about because I was a jet mechanic in the Navy, and Hangar 54 was one of the hangars at Pearl Harbor that survived the bombings and had been used as a Navy training center. Hangar 54 Grill seemed to roll off the tongue nicely.”
The restaurant’s décor is modern and appropriately airport-themed, with newspaper articles on popular aviation stories transferred onto the surface of the tables, and clocks on the wall featuring different time zones. The restaurant also has a large bar with many local brews on tap. Perhaps the most unique part of the restaurant is its direct view of the airport runway, which runs just outside the large windows.
In terms of the menu, “We wanted to cater to everyone just like we do at Rump’s,” Adrian said. “We did our best to create dishes with great ingredients for a fair price. I think we have something for everyone.” The menu includes a wide variety of items, ranging from amaretto french toast for breakfast to ribs for dinner, and everything in between (including burgers made with hamburger ground onsite).
Adrian noted that owning a butcher shop and having knowledge of meat has helped inform the restaurant’s offerings. “I would say we have a pretty good understanding of meats over at Rump’s. Combine that with expert chefs, and you can create some pretty amazing things. For example, we grind our own burger right at the Hangar. If not for having the Rump’s input on that, we probably wouldn’t have done that.”
He also reports Hangar 54 and Rump’s work together. “For example, we don’t have a smoke house at the Hangar but wanted to do a nice smoked baby back rib,” he said. “So the chefs at the Hangar came up with a great rub, and then we smoked the rub in our smokehouse at Rump’s. This gives the ribs a nice natural smoked flavor rather than using liquid smoke.”
Hangar 54 is doing very well, and Adrian credits co-owners Dudley and Anderson, the very supportive and hardworking restaurant staff, as well as the airport. He noted they are constantly working to improve the customers’ experience. “The feedback has been great,” he said. “The compliments on the food have been very good. With any new restaurant you have some issues with wait times and service. … My hat’s off to everyone that works there for doing an amazing job. Things will continue to get smoother as we learn.”
Hangar 54 Grill • Chippewa Valley Regional Airport, 3800 Starr Ave., Eau Claire • (715) 598-1880 • hangar54grill.com
Tuesday, May. 31st, 2016
Remember when you voted in The Local Store's most recent Local Legends poll (back in March) regarding a limited-edition, vintage-style tee featuring the logo of a former local business we all know and love? Of course you do. (Our past winners include Kerm's, Woo's Pagoda, London Square, Timm's Dairy, and the Camaraderie.)
Well, the latest results are in and you picked our new winner: The Gemini Drive In. After over 40 years as a beloved Chippewa Valley destination, the Gemini Drive In Theater closed its doors in 2015. But now it can live forever on your torso.
But how can you get one?
Our new Gemini Drive In tee is available in the shop (205 N. Dewey Street, downtown Eau Claire) and online right here!