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Parkside Restaurant and Bar open for business in Hammond

The building may not be new, but the look and tastes inside it are.

Dustin Anderson opened Parkside Restaurant and Bar on July 3. He said he hopes for the restaurant to have a family friendly feel to it.

There's already been a lot of positive feedback from the Hammond community. "There's no restaurant area for families here. People want to get away from the bars," he said.

Before he could get to opening day, Anderson said he did a lot of remodeling. The building's previous eatery had a dark color scheme which didn't suit his style.

He wanted to lighten it up to give the restaurant a more comfortable, welcoming atmosphere, Anderson said.

His remodeling staff of family and friends recarpeted the floors, repainted the walls and reupholstered the chairs.

The decor was done by Anderson's girlfriend Samantha Prytz and her mom Cindy King. He denied having any part in it except writing them checks. "They did a great job," he said. "It looks a lot different in here."

Parkside will be open every day. Inside the building there are two distinct areas, a bar and a restaurant. Smoking is allowed in the bar; the restaurant is smoke free.

The bar features a few games and four flat screen TVs. Anderson hopes to broadcast a few different sports games each night.

He plans to cater to both Vikings and Packer fans during the fall. "We'll have border battles. We're open to those for sure," he said.

The restaurant area has seating for about 70 people very comfortably, Anderson said.

Included in that count is a small side room that can host small meetings and parties of 35 to 40 people.

Anderson said he and the head chef, John Salaba, tried to keep the menu simple and affordable.

"We want people to be able to bring the whole family without it costing an arm and a leg," Salaba said.

Anderson added, "We want it to be affordable but have the quality still there."

The menu mainly consists of sandwiches, burgers and chicken.

Additionally, there are buffet specials every day. Each day features a different special such as pasta, comfort food and steak. The buffet will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.

Even with the buffets, the team is trying to keep the prices reasonable.

Salaba said, "Our goal is to not run any buffets, other than the Friday Seafood Buffet, over $11.95."

Daily dinner specials will begin at 4 p.m. Entrees range from pork tenderloin to prime rib to fajitas.

The kitchen will stay open until the bar closes, Anderson said. That way, people driving though town after a late round of golf or after a sporting event can stop in to get a quick dinner.

Anderson brings with him a lot of years of restaurant and bar experience. He said he's been working in the business since he was in high school in Cumberland. Four of those years he managed the Corner Bar, he said.

His love of the business made him decide to give ownership a whirl, Anderson said.

The staff consists of about 14 employees, including two full time cooks.

Salaba's resume includes cooking for the River's Edge, Indianhead Supper Club and the Laurel.

With his simple menu and all-day buffets, Anderson hopes to attract a large variety of people.

He said, "We're trying to make the restaurant the friendliest environment possible. We'll cater to anybody and everybody. I want to have fun with the job and make everyone feel welcome."