Store to be closed Wednesday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN - Lake Region Co-op/Cenex is cooking up something new for its Cokato location, including an expansion and remodel of its convenience store and the addition of Mean Gene’s Grill.
Construction has begun immediately and will double the size of the current convenience store, adding a restaurant with a seating area, according to Mike Murray, general manager of Lake Region.
The restaurant, named after the famed WWE announcer, Eugene “Mean Gene” Okerlund, will serve menu items for those on the go, as well as some made fresh to order for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, according to Murray.
Some of the menu items include Mean Gene’s three-quarter pound cheese burgers and fries, steak and cheese melt, loaded nachos, and more.
What is different about Mean Gene’s food is the way it’s cooked, Murray said.
The food is cooked using hot air impingement, a new and healthier system of evenly heating food without grease or adding trans fats, and without using a microwave, according to Murray.
The store will have a whole new look on the outside as well as the inside with everything new and improved, according to Murray.
“Our design was chosen to not resemble a typical convenience store,” Murray said.
The new expansion and remodel will also add local jobs, since the store will have to more than double its staff, Murray noted.
Also, being a co-op, Lake Region tries to use local contractors, and has hired Bauer Design and Build from Maple Plain, according to Murray.
With the new remodel and expansion there will also be an express lube added with its own bay as well as a new tire showroom.
The remodel is an effort to get customers back in the store rather than just pumping and paying for gas outside, Murray said.
For added convenience, the store will include two high-definition televisions, including one in the waiting room, as well as free Wi-Fi.
Murray is hoping the store will be completed some time in October and will have Mean Gene himself stopping by for the grand opening.
Lake Region recently remodeled its Maple Lake location, which the Cokato location will closely resemble, when completed.
Customers can expect the store to be closed Wednesday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. due to the relocation of a transformer.