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'Enter as a guest, leave as a friend' at Brewskie’s in Utica

About halfway between Rochester and Winona sits a small town bar and grill that serves popular pizza and burgers, and holds a great deal of history for the rural town of Utica.

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Tim Schultz, co-owner of Brewskies, stands behind the bar ready to serve farmers and travelers in western in Winona County on November 2, 2022.
Theodore Tollefson / Post Bulletin
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UTICA, Minn. — For travelers along Interstate 90 or U.S. Highway 14 east of Rochester, the town of Utica may not offer much to the naked eye.

For farmers in the area and those looking for any bite to eat, Brewskie’s Bar & Grill, located at the corner of Center and Main streets, turns Utica into a greater attraction than first time diners usually expect.

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That is in great part to the motto of the bar and grill created by owners Greg Swenson and Tim Schultz, “Enter as a guest, leave as a friend.”

“We try to be family friendly and appeal to the bar crowd too,” said Schultz. “We have a side room and patio space that’s mainly for the family friendly crowd. A lot of farmers around here really support us, and we have pretty good lunches thanks to them.”

Swenson and Schultz have owned and operated Brewskie’s together since 1996 and business thrived uninterrupted until the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately for the duo, the thing that kept the restaurant afloat was online ordering and takeout orders for their pizzas.

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Although Brewskie’s has been making their own pizzas in-house rather than cooking up frozen pizzas since 2000, the popularity of their pizzas soared while COVID-19 lockdowns and limitations were implemented statewide throughout 2020 and early 2021.

Alongside popular pizzas such as the taco and meat lovers, Brewskies is widely known from Altura to Lanesboro for its burgers.

“Our olive burger was actually a suggestion from the customers," Schultz said. "We just tried to keep everything simple for our customers and give people a good product at a good fair price. Right now our special is the 'Toad Stacker,' a burger with Canadian bacon, a piece of cheese then regular bacon and another piece of cheese.”

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A customized Budwiser sign lights up for the daily open at Brewskie's Bar & Grill in Utica on November 2, 2022
Theodore Tollefson / Post Bulletin

Customization of burgers and other foods is something Brewskie’s willingly tries to accommodate its customers.

“We are always willing to fix food to people's liking. If somebody says, 'Oh, can you put this on there,' and if we have it, we'll make it,” said Schultz.

Welcoming in new customers at Brewskie’s main entrance is a tribute to the former bar that used the space prior to Swenson and Schultz’s ownership. At the center of these photos is the former owner of the old bar and restaurant in the 1950s, Curt Shattack.

The majority of these photos were taken in 1958, according to Schultz, as Utica celebrated the town centennial. One of the photos features a group of men and a card table that still sits in Brewskie’s to this day. One of the men in this photo, Rod Krenzke, still made stops into Brewskie’s in his later years.

“His daughter (Krenzke) brought him in a few months before he passed away at 97, and he was seated at the same table he is at in that photo. He was lit up with excitement and reminiscing greatly about the old days when he frequented the old restaurant often,” shared Schultz on the history of the photo.

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Brewskie’s is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.


Brewskie's Bar & Grill

110 E Main St, Utica, MN 55979

(507) 932-3485

www.brewskiesbargrill.com


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A collection of photos from 1958 that celebrates the history of the building that houses Brewskie's Bar & Grill located to the left hand side of the restaurant's main entrance.
Theodore Tollefson / Post Bulletin

Theodore Tollefson is a business reporter for the Post Bulletin. He is originally from Burnsville, Minn., and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a bachelor's degree in journalism in December 2020. Readers can reach Theodore at 507-281-7420 or ttollefson@postbulletin.com.
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