After four months of hard work, a major remodeling project at The Bowling Barn & Grill in downtown Osakis is complete.
The new bowling alley had a soft opening on Jan. 4-6 and the doors officially opened on Jan. 8. The Barn had a very busy first weekend of business, according to Tonya Danielson, who owns the business along with her husband, Bryan. They had the Vikings football game on Saturday and a live band played as well.
“We packed The Barn,” Danielson said. “The lanes were full, the dance floor was full and we all had a blast. We will be doing more events like that very soon.”
Danielson added that they’ve received a lot of positive comments from local residents.
“I am overwhelmed by all the love and support from Osakis and surrounding communities,” she said. “Being from a small town (Glenwood), my roots will always be there but my heart beats Osakis. I am deeply humbled.”
The old “Lakeview Lanes” was completely revamped and a full kitchen was added. About the only part that remained virtually untouched were the six lanes, but the mural backdrop above the pins was also changed to reflect the new country-barn feel, with farm animals and barnyard scenes.
Danielson described the remodeling process as a huge learning curve.
“My husband and I have done many remodel projects on different homes – this was much more of a challenge being in the city and a commercial property,” she said, adding that the biggest challenge was building the commercial kitchen.
“I do not have experience in that piece of the remodel,” she said. “We did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. My favorite part of the whole remodel was working with and watching the electrical go in. Engle Electric went above and beyond with this project.”
Danielson said they decided to keep the first menu very simple.
“We tried to be just a little different than the other eating establishments in town – we don’t want to take away from anyone. We just want to be another option,” she said. "We have limited space at The Barn, so we chose items that we can mix and match.”
The kitchen manager, Jason Lund and his team, will be working together to create a “second phase” menu this spring.
“Right now some of my favorite items are the Cheese Bales with Blazin’ Berry sauce and the Farmers Paradise Burger,” Danielson said. “However, the broasted chicken and coleslaw is all the crave.”
She added that the broasted chicken is available all day long, along with a to-go option.
Danielson came up with an idea that encourages diners to put away their electronic gadgets and enjoy some good-old conversation with their meal. It's called the Barn Bucket Challenge. Customers put their cell phones in a bucket that's placed behind the bar and if they can stay away from the phones for the entire meal, they'll be treated to a free dessert.
The Danielsons are holding off on opening bowling leagues until this fall. They want to make sure that the lanes are just right.
“I am looking forward to learning more about the mechanics of the lanes and understanding the oil patterns,” she said. “When I open to doing leagues, I want to do the best a small six-lane alley can do.”
The Bowling Barn & Grill is already booked up on the weekends through the end of February and is starting to book March events. Students in the Osakis physical education class started bowling on Monday, Jan. 13.
“I would recommend calling ahead to reserve a lane if you plan to bowl on the weekend,” she said. “I will do my best to get you in for a game or two.”
Planning for an official grand opening is in the works, Danielson said.
“We are looking forward to nice weather again and getting out on the patio – also known as The Barnyard,” she said.
For more information, call Danielson at 320-497-0843.