The Barn Board draws restaurateur home
It took Trent and Betsy Schug more than five hours to commute from their home in Brainerd, Minn., to their new business venture at The Barn Board Grill & Saloon in Roberts last Friday thanks to the wintry weather. Both are excited for the day when they can permanently come home to Wisconsin.
The Schugs bought out Dave and Tricia Kremer’s silent partner at The Barn Board Jan. 3. Their eventual plan is to buy the Kremers’ half in the next year or two.
Trent and Betsy describe themselves as a couple of farm kids who grew up in Glenwood City and cannot wait to return to their home area. Buying half of The Barn Board allows them to do just that.
“I worked for Dave in high school and college at the golf course in Glenwood City,” Trent said. “I also worked for him at Loggers during college.”
Dave Kremer also owns part of and operates Loggers Bar & Grill in St. Croix Falls. According to Trent, Dave will continue running Loggers once the Schugs buy the other half of The Barn Board.
“It was the plan five years ago when the business began to build it up and sell it,” Trent said.
Betsy, who is currently a soil scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture, said she also waitressed and bartended her way through college.
“We have thick experience in the service industry,” Betsy said. “It will be so nice to get back home among friends and family. We’re back in God’s country.”
Tracy is hoping to transfer her job with the USDA to St. Paul. Trent will focus on the Barn Board and continue to run his web design business, Great Lakes Media, which he founded six years ago.
They’re looking to buy a home in the area of Roberts, Hammond, Baldwin or Glenwood City when spring arrives. Right now Trent (and sometimes Betsy) drives from Brainerd each weekend to help out at the Barn Board.
“I’ll be there to help sometimes, but I want us to keep doing our own thing too,” Betsy said. “Trent will focus on the Barn Board.”
The pair, who were married last summer, love anything to do with the outdoors, especially bicycling, riding motorcyle and golfing.
Plan for The Barn Board
The Schugs are excited to try many new ideas in the coming months at The Barn Board, while maintaining the core items people have come to love at the restaurant.
“We really like things that are local,” Betsy said. “Our generation is moving toward items that are locally sourced and we want to do that.”
A new menu will be unveiled in the next month. A couple of sneak peeks the Schugs revealed are creative burgers with fresh toppings not typically found on burgers and cocktails made with fresh ingredients, no mixes.
The pair plan to condense the menu, but offer more creative items. They also plan to implement some ideas they’ve seen while living in Brainerd.
They have plans of adding bison burgers to the menu, with meat from the Silver Bison Ranch near Baldwin. On tap, they feature local beers from Leinenkugel’s in Chippewa Falls and Rush River Brewery in River Falls. They hope to add other locally crafted beers as well.
Another main focus of the couple is getting The Barn Board more involved in the community. They plan to hold meat raffles at the restaurant every Tuesday night. A different local charity will benefit each time from the proceeds, Trent said.
Once summer hits, which eventually it must, customers can choose to get involved with several sports leagues at The Barn Board, including volleyball, golf and bean bags. Another draw will be more live music and DJs on the weekends, including two-piece bands on the patio on Sundays. The Schugs aim is to provide more night life activities.
“Really, we’re just a couple of farm kids coming home,” Betsy said. “We can’t wait to be settled here and involved in the community.”