As most seasonal eateries wind down for the winter, Endion Station Public House is planning some changes to embrace the off season.
The pub and cider house at 200 Lake Place Drive opened in the summer of 2014. It weathered that first winter in its Canal Park location but has closed for the winter each year since.
This winter, Endion Station will be open every day at 4 p.m. Closing time is to be determined, but will be later on weekends.
Endion Station has a prime spot at the corner of the lake but is tucked away beneath the overpass and off the beaten path to Canal Park. It features a patio and scenic lake view but the pub’s biggest challenge is to “remind people we’re here,” says Marissa Saurer, marketing director for the Just Take Action restaurant group, which includes Endion.
In the off-season, traffic in the area declines remarkably, so the idea is to “flip the script” and cater to the locals rather than tourists, according to Saurer. The plan is to create a sort of “shelter from the storm” — a warm and inviting space to entice people to visit.
“Few locals want to visit during peak tourist season — myself included,” admits Saurer. But as hectic tourist traffic in Canal Park dies down, free winter parking is a bonus. Though Endion Station is often overlooked, it has assets like an outdoor gas fireplace and seating overlooking the lake.
A new winter menu will focus on hearty comfort foods like macaroni and cheese and Highland beef stew. The establishment has 20 taps, which will rotate to include more barrel-aged beer in the winter.
Hot drinks and fine whiskey will be on offer as well. Customers can hunker down with beverages and board games. Small groups and private events will be encouraged.
Endion Station will host events of its own to draw people in. Saurer says an ice sculpting competition is being planned. An upcoming family-friendly Oktoberfest celebration will take place on Saturday, Sept. 30, with beer, games and German-themed food such as wild boar brats and sauerkraut.
The Just Take Action restaurant group, owned by Rod Raymond, includes several other eating and drinking establishments, including Fitger’s Brewhouse, Burrito Union, the Barrel Room, the Rathskeller and the Blind Pig.
In related news, the Blind Pig (formerly Tycoons) will close in mid-September. The restaurant and event space in the old city hall is up for lease. The Rathskeller bar in the building’s basement will remain open.
The company has been focused on developing a line of retail products after a frozen version of the Brewhouse’s popular wild rice burger has found success at area grocers. Saurer says the company has plans to sell sauces, bratwurst and pierogies to area grocery stores and beyond to companies like Coborn’s and Kowalski’s. Plans to sell bottled Brewhouse root beer and blood orange soda are in the works as well.
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