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Keeping it local

Owners of two Lucan businesses have found a way of helping each other

December 8, 2008
By Cindy Votruba

LUCAN - Owners of Lucan's Brauhaus and the Brau Brothers Brewing Company said that keeping things locally-owned has been a boost to both themselves and the community.

Ken and Barb Rechtzigel of Belview bought the Brauhaus from the Brau family and officially became the restaurant's new owners on Nov. 1.

Dustin Brau of Lucan and his family have expanded the Brau Brothers Brewing Company to include a hop yard and locally grown product.

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Ken and Barb Rechtzigel are the new owners of the Brauhaus in Lucan. The restaurant debuted a new menu on Dec. 1, which includes homemade foods.

Barb Rechtzigel grew up in Lucan and already knew the restaurant's reputation and the family that started it.

"We're good friends with the entire Brau family, all of them, Dale, Lynette, the three brothers," Barb Rechtzigel said. "They wanted to keep it locally owned, which is important."

Barb Rechtzigel said Ken was contract finishing hogs and wanted a change, so they bought the restaurant.

"I guess he decided to give up that aspect of farming," Barb Rechtzigel said.

The Rechtzigels' son, Jay, went to culinary school and worked at the Landmark Bistro in Marshall. Jay is now one of the head chefs at the Brauhaus.

A new menu was introduced last Monday, which includes a few of Jay Rechtzigel's specialities. Barb Rechtzigel said her son is moving toward more homemade items, such as hand-rolled chicken kiev, homemade soups and fresh fried chicken

"He makes his own batter for fresh mushrooms, onion rings and chicken," Barb Rechtzigel said.

Barb Rechtzigel said her son will also come out of the kitchen to talk with the clientele, asking them how the food is.

"The feedback from that has been positive," Barb Rechtzigel said. "It makes them (the customers) feel important, the personal connection."

Ken Rechtzigel spends almost every day at the restaurant when he's not farming.

"It's a challenge keeping everything organized," Ken Rechtzigel said.

The Brau beer available at the restaurant has been a big draw, Ken Rechtzigel said. People will go on tours of the brewery and then come to the restaurant to eat, the couple said.

"We give a lot of impromptu tours," Brau said.

"We help each other a lot," Barb Rechtzigel said.

People still treat the Brauhaus as a brew pub, Brau said, and that helps the brewery in so many ways.

"It helps us to build brand recognition for one thing, and it also gives us a public face in the community," Brau said.

Brau said the 1000-vine hop yard was planted this past spring by the brewery.

"It's a first commercial hop yard in Minnesota," Brau said. "We're the first estate brewery, which means we grow our own barley and hops."

Brau said the brewery is doing test-malting, so it can reach a certain goal.

"We'd like to grow 90 percent of our malt locally," Brau said.

Brau Brothers Brewery had its first beer fest in October, which was successful, Brau said.

"We're already planning for next year," Brau said.

Brau said sales have increased with their winter beers, such as the Scotch ale and the Cream Stout.

"It's actually been a good winter," Brau said, adding that breweries tend to see a slow winter.

Brau said his wife, Mary, is redoing the merchandise line for the brewery's Web site, new swag, shirts, and other items.

"So that's kept us busy," Brau said.

What's been keeping the Rechtzigels busy is coming up with specials, such as Friday and Saturday's prime rib dinner and Sunday's brunch.

There's also an all-you-can-eat chicken and pizza buffet on Sunday evenings, Barb Rechtzigel said.

"People like the aspect of going up to the line and eat, watch the Vikings games," Barb Rechtzigel said.

Barb Rechtzigel said people have had their Christmas parties in the BrauHaus' banquet room.

"We've got 20 of them left this year," Ken Rechtzigel said.

Barb Rechtzigel said the past month has gone well.

"It's been exciting, there's more changes we want to make," Barb Rechtzigel said.



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