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W’bago restaurant gets backing

Both city and county EDAs guarantee loans to new Ann Marie’s Kitchen

February 19, 2017
Cody Benjamin - Register Staff Writer ( , Faribault County Register

"Guy's Big Boy Burger," an influx of barbeque and a proposed Winnebago restaurant got another green light on Tuesday.

Roughly two weeks after the city's Economic Development Authority (EDA) signed off on a loan request from Scott and Katie Reisenbigler, the locals behind a plan to revive and remake the Winnebago Grill, the Faribault County EDA did the same at its meeting this week.

"I think the community's ready to support this," Tim Clawson, executive director of Faribault County Development Corporation (FCDC), told the EDA. "They know that if they don't, they might not have one (a restaurant) for awhile."

Only a few questions preceded the EDA's vote to approve the Reisenbiglers' loan request, which had been granted by the Winnebago EDA contingent upon county support.

The loan, as Clawson detailed and the city EDA discussed on Feb. 1, would give the Reisenbiglers $15,000 toward a $55,000 purchase of the Winnebago Grill, which closed its Main Street doors in August. Half of that $15,000, with a three-percent interest rate on the first year of repayment, will be guaranteed by the county EDA. The other $7,500 will be backed by the city EDA.

The same split of guarantees will also occur for an additional $15,000 line of credit to go toward the Reisenbiglers' plans, which are to reopen the Grill as Ann Marie's Kitchen in March.

"He's a promoter," EDA member Brad Wolf said of Scott Reisenbigler, who told the city of Winnebago that his ultimate goal is to attract TV food critic Guy Fieri to town with his restaurant. "Plus, Casey's (General Store gas station) is the only place to go for food right now."

EDA member Lars Bierly, voicing support for the partnership with the Reisenbiglers, said the proposed menu of Ann Marie's Kitchen should fuel more of a local market, too.

"Barbeque's going to draw people," he said. "It's not like it's just a diner."

Reisenbigler, who explained to the Winnebago EDA earlier in the month that he plans to blend Asian and Spanish cooking influences with signature burger ideas, has experience with his own barbeque company, Scotty Biggs BBQ.

And with April 1 targeted as a grand opening for Ann Marie's Kitchen in Winnebago, the county EDA agreed that Reisenbigler bringing any semblance of food service to a Main Street without restaurants would be a step in the right direction.

After reviewing a recommendation by the EDA Loan Committee, the group cast its unanimous support for the Reisenbiglers' plans and loan request.

At Tuesday's meeting, the Faribault County EDA also:

Welcomed Kristi Yost as Clawson's interim assistant in the FCDC office.

Yost began working alongside Clawson the day before and brings experience with Kiester's City Council as well as the Albert Lea Housing & Redevelopment Authority.

Discussed plans for a sheriff's auction of county-owned property inside Blue Earth's "Three Sisters" buildings on Main Street.

An auction of the abandoned property, which includes an array of old pianos, had already been scheduled for April 22, with Wagner Co. Auctioneers slated to lead the sale.

But EDA member and county commissioner John Roper asked that the auction overseers ensure that a sheriff is actually present at the sale if the law requires a deputy to be on site.

Heard from Clawson that Wednesday, March 22, has been set as the date for FCDC's annual meeting, which will be held in Wells.



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