Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chippewa Valley Regional (KEAU), Eau Claire, Wisconsin: Barn-themed airport restaurant opens Monday

Shane Opatz 

The Farm on Starr 

A plane passed dinning room windows last week at The Farm On Starr Restaurant & Bar located at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport. The restaurant will officially open for business on Monday.

Barn boards and tractor signs adorn the walls of the new eatery, The Farm on Starr Restaurant & Bar, located at Chippewa Valley Regional Airport. 

The business will open at 6 a.m. Monday, and owners Glen and Sarah Hein are eager to show off the remodeled restaurant.

"We did a complete remodel," Glen Hein said. "It's barn-themed. It's a tribute to Wisconsin dairy farmers. It's a totally different concept with a décor that no one else has, with the farm feel."

The airport has switched restaurant operators, as Connell's II at the Airport closed this winter after operating there for 22 years.

Hein said he has worked part time at the airport for several years, and he was intrigued when he heard the restaurant space would be going up for bid.

"It was a really good deal," he said. "I could envision what I could do with it."

Construction has been done over the past eight years, which included removing a wall and opening up the dining area. The dining room seats 82, with room for 30 more in the bar area, he said.

"If you've been here before, you won't recognize anything," Hein said.

The Heins, who operate Black Tie Hospitality in Menomonie, signed a 10-year lease last fall that pays the airport a minimum of $36,000 annually. The airport will receive 6 percent of the new restaurant's gross receipts if that figure is higher than $36,000, airport manager Charity Speich said.

Airport board member CW King likes the new look.

"It's substantially better," King said. "I think it's a clear change of what was there before. I think people will find the décor to be nice. We think it's an improvement."

Hein said the menu includes a midday salad bar, burgers, wraps, steaks, daily specials, a Friday night fish fry, and a rotation of appetizers. He said it's important to draw business from the whole community, not just airport users.

"Only about 20 percent of the airport restaurant is from travel — 80 percent are from the neighborhood," he said. "The clientele is out here, in this part of town."

Hein said he was worried about a rumor and misconception that they weren't going to open after it was announced that the airport's control tower is closing because of federal budget cuts. He said the loss of the tower didn't impact his plans to move forward with the restaurant. The tower decision won't affect the amount of air traffic, officials said.

"We want people to come out, try it, and check out the décor," Hein said.

Public Forum

Chippewa Valley Regional Airport officials will hold a public forum from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to seek input as it updates the airport's master plan. An airport consultant will provide a brief presentation at 5:30 p.m.

Story and Photo:

No comments:

Post a Comment