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Serving up burgers, fries and a tradition

Madison Deobald pours a beer for a noontime customer last week at Scooter's Bar and Grill in Zumbro Falls. She's the daughter-in-law of Scott Deobald who opened the bar but died nearly a year ago. His family is keeping the business open in his honor.


Jordan Deobald hit the little bell, telling his sister-in-law, Madison Deobald, a patty melt with waffle fries was ready. Madison went to the kitchen at Scooter's Bar and Grill in downtown Zumbro Falls and brought the food to the bar for a hungry customer.

Another customer satisfied, another bit of the Deobald family honoring Scott Deobald continued.

Scott started the bar about seven years ago because he enjoyed similar places in northern Wisconsin where he went to snowmobile, said Rick Kolar, Scott's brother-in-law and now the manager. Scott liked the bars where you could kick back, enjoy a beer and burger, watch some TV, maybe dance. It was more like a local tavern and gathering place.

In Zumbro Falls, Scooter's became a place to gather, talk, eat, drink.


"It was his dream, he always wanted a bar, it was something he wanted to do," Jordan said.

Part of that was because he loved being with people. "He was a talker, that's for sure," he said. "I didn't inherit that from him."

But Scott was hit with cancer and died nearly a year ago. His family decided to keep the bar, and keep up his vision, Kolar said.

It's now owned by Scott's brother-in-law, Tim Kowlowski, of Fargo, N.D., but is operated by many of Scott's family locally as well others.

"I lived here so I was nominated, or whatever, to just kind of run it," Kolar said. Actually, "we all do (run it), it's a family team, everybody pitches in."

They could have sold it, "but it meant a lot to Scott, we wanted to keep it going for the town and the area," he said.

Scooter's once served breakfast but dropped that because Delila's next door also serves breakfast. Instead, Scooter's is going with lunch and supper. There is also a new pizza place, The Local Pizzeria, to Scooter's west. It's good to offer variety, Kolar said.

When Scott got sick, "things fell behind," he said. "It was a battle because Scott was sick, it was a battle to get it back."


They are getting more community support. Scooter's is trying to offer more things, such as a DJ dance on Saturday nights. At the Jan. 23 one, no one was there to begin dancing at 8 p.m. but it picked up later, Jordan said.

That's part of the problem — winter is a hard time to keep things going in small towns without people coming to canoe, motorcycle and enjoy the Zumbro River Valley, he said. More snow to attract more snowmobilers should help.

When he and Madison were working the noon shift last week, they had several customers but not a full place.

Still, Madison wanted to be working there, is happy to keep Scott's dream up and running.

"He (Scott) was a lot like a father figure, like my second dad," she said. He taught her to drive. "He was very very patient, considering I was not the best driver."

With that, she got back to work.


Jordan signaled four burger baskets were ready and Madison hurried over to take them to customers.


Jordan believes his father would be proud of what the family is doing.

"I would hope so," he said.

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