By TINA SNELL
Deny and LouAnn Raatz, Rice, have opened Molly’s On Main, a cafe and bar located next to the Upsala Post Office.
Upsala has been without a cafe for several years. The Raatzes were ready to begin a new chapter in their lives. The marriage of the two is working.
“I was employed as a paraprofessional for 14 years in the Sartell school system, and before that I ran a day care business. I was ready for a change. But, I wanted a career where I would still be around lots of people,” said LouAnn. “Deny knew about this property in Upsala and he did some investigating. Here we are.”
Molly’s On Main is located on the previous site of the Uptown Cafe. Deny, who owns a construction company, razed the old building and built the new cafe from scratch with help from his crew and sons Travis and Jason. Ground was broken Aug. 11.
“Upsala’s Mayor Rollie Johnson, the City Council and Morrison County Auditor Russ Nygren were very helpful in getting this project off the ground,” said Deny. “They proceeded quickly with all the paperwork and we were steered in the right direction when necessary. If they didn’t know the answer to our questions, they got back to us with an answer.”
Unsure about what to call the new restaurant, Deny came up with Molly’s On Main when he was walking with his dog Molly. Both he and LouAnn, close to their mothers, liked the initials MOM.
“The name has a ring to it, and who isn’t going to let their husband or wife go to have a beer at MOM’s place,” said Deny.
When entering the building, customers are met with two doors in the foyer. The cafe, through the door on the right, seats more than 50 people in both booths and tables. The decor is dark greens and reds and the staff greets everyone with a friendly smile and a menu.
Through the door on the left is the full bar, which also can be accessed through the cafe. It seats more than 50 people, is spacious and done in the same colors as the cafe. It also offers off-sale liquor.
“The U-shaped bar itself was made from several red oak trees which were knocked down on my farm in a summer storm,” said Deny, who also raises approximately 50 cattle just outside of Rice.
Throughout the establishment are black and white photographs taken by daughter Jen Steinkoph. The pictures depict various aspects of life and different landmarks in Upsala.
There are two televisions in the bar to catch the current sports games and one in the cafe for the news.
The menu is diverse, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef B.J. Lange of Upsala helped write the menu and is in the kitchen cooking most evenings.
The cafe opens at 7 a.m., seven days a week and the bar closes at 1 a.m. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m., the lunch menu begins at 11 a.m. and customers may order from the dinner menu beginning at 4 p.m. The cafe is open until 11 p.m. and food is available in the bar until closing. Pizzas are available until closing.
The restaurant offers daily specials Monday through Friday, homemade pizza and soups, healthy salads, a pasta menu, burgers and a variety of desserts. Several of the menu items are named after family members. They have Wanda’s chicken wings named after LouAnn’s mother who passed away a year ago, and Anne’s drummies, named after Deny’s mother.
On the children’s menu are Remi’s hodge podge, Hailey’s pizza, Carter’s cheeseburger and Gabbie’s chicken fries, all named after the Raatzes grandchildren.
Future plans for Molly’s On Main include adding a Tuesday broasted chicken buffet, a Sunday brunch and catering. The bar will soon see dart leagues, bar bingo, meat raffles and a deejay.
“The community seemed to be very excited about the project during the construction,” said Deny. “There would be people checking out our progress each day. The community’s response to our opening has been phenomenal.”
For more information, call Molly’s On Main at (320) 573-3663.