From the Dutch Huis, Union Street Grill, Mustang Steakhouse and to a Pizza Pub that underwent four ownership changes — the corner lot at 17 North Union Street, Mora, has seen its share of restaurants come and go.
Now, new owners with restaurant experience and a unique plan hope to bring a different kind of fine dining option to downtown Mora.
Crystal Bar and Grill owners Karl and Amy Gotfredson purchased the building earlier this month — a move that surprised even themselves.
“We didn’t have any idea this would be in our future,” said Karl.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly hard on restaurants.
“It’s been tragic for a lot of people,” said Karl.
Amy said she lost sleep at night worrying about the livelihoods of their staff. “They are our family. We worry about them,” she said.
The pandemic and constantly changing rules about indoor dining and capacity limits, left the Gotfredsons feeling uncertain. Instead of planning their retirement, the couple began planning ways to diversify their income sources.
Amy began to expand the Crystal’s catering side of the business, but said trying to fulfill catering and regular food orders made it terribly tight in the kitchen.
When Pizza Pub permanently closed its doors in June, it opened the Gotfredson’s minds to a new idea.
The Gotfredsons decided to purchase the Pizza Pub building to provide them more kitchen space while renters in the building’s second floor apartments could provide them steady cash.
That income supplements what they earn from the Crystal, giving the Godfredsons room to risk trying a new restaurant service not found in the Mora area.
Area residents have often expressed a desire for an upscale dining option for special occasions. While many may drive as far away as St. Cloud or Minneapolis for a finer meal, such a restaurant couldn’t sustain itself on demand from Mora alone.
The Gotfredsons plan to operate a new, fine dining restaurant that opens only one or two times per month.
Karl and Amy described a menu that reaches past fried foods and into more upscale food options — perhaps Italian one night or seafood another. A limited menu of one or two entrees would change each evening.
“It will be a dining experience you won’t find in Mora,” Amy said.
The finer details are still in the works, and despite the uncertainty of the restaurant business, Amy said she hopes the new business will be open to serve in the spring.
“It’s another chapter we are venturing into together,” said Amy.
“I think it will be a new, exciting adventure.”