By Starrla Cray
WAVERLY, MN “This is a place people can come after a long day and just relax,” RedLodge Grille co-owner Kelly Smith said, referring to her casual, upscale restaurant on Highway 12 in Waverly.
Since the bar and grill opened May 9, people have been gravitating to its tender steaks, juicy burgers, tantalizing pizzas, and other freshly made selections.
“We’ve been getting rave reviews on the food,” said Smith, who lives within walking distance of the restaurant.
In addition to Smith, the other owners include her husband, Jerry, along with Vicki and Turk Hickman of Buffalo.
The Hickmans and Smiths each have more than 25 years of business ownership and restaurant industry experience. Most recently, Smith had been a co-owner of Sunni’s Grille in Howard Lake.
“It’s our first business venture together,” Smith said.
The restaurant is the former site of All American Grille, and features a stylish log cabin exterior and interior.
“We’re very happy to have this opportunity,” Smith said. “It’s a beautiful establishment.”
The 7,800-square-foot building has a clean, spacious, and comfortable atmosphere, with a large family dining section and separate sports bar area.
A relatively small parking area is the only drawback, according to Smith.
“Just because the parking lot is full doesn’t mean we’re full inside,” she said, explaining that RedLodge Grille seats 275 people.
Space is available for large group gatherings or private use of the entire restaurant. RedLodge will also cater to outside locations.
About 35 people work at the restaurant, including Smith’s son, Chris, and Hickman’s daughter, Michelle.
“We have a really good staff,” Smith said.
The employees seem to enjoy their jobs, as well.
“It’s so fun,” server Tiffany Drusch said. “The owners are amazing.”
The day after RedLodge Grille opened, Drusch and two other servers were relaxing after their shift. They were off the clock, but were in no rush to leave.
“I absolutely love it here,” Drusch said. They especially enjoy dancing to music from the jukebox, she added, laughing.
For the restaurant’s grand opening recently, bands played Friday and Saturday night.
“We plan to have live entertainment a couple times a month,” Smith said. “Our goal is to be a great family establishment, where people can come and have a good time and a good meal.”
A few of the popular menu items include venetian rolls (pizza dough stuffed with a flavorful medley of toppings), bacon-wrapped key lime shrimp, and the walleye and sirloin steak combo.
“We want to be known for our steaks,” Smith said.
A wide assortment of pastas, soups, sandwiches, wraps, salads, appetizers, and children’s meals are also available.
“Most of our soups and sauces are made from scratch,” Smith said.
RedLodge Grille is open Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
The dining room closes at 9 p.m., and the kitchen closes at 10 p.m.
“We’re open seven days a week,” Smith said. “The only day we’re closed is Christmas Day.”
To learn more, call (763) 658-4044 or go to http://theredlodgegrille.com/index.html