McGregor Whistle Stop Cafe, Uncle Sam’s Saloon opening May 5

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Linda Boeke will open the McGregor Whistle Stop Cafe and Uncle Sam’s Saloon Thursday, May 5, in McGregor. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Linda Boeke will open the McGregor Whistle Stop Cafe and Uncle Sam’s Saloon Thursday, May 5, in McGregor. The business will operate out of the McGregor’s Landing building, located on First Street, along Triangle Park.

“The building has been up for sale, and I hated to see it sit empty,” Boeke said of the impetus behind opening the business. “It needs to be used. Hopefully someone comes along to run it.”

There’s more than just making the building attractive to a potential buyer, however. Boeke said she’s always felt a restaurant would be a good fit for the location. She also wanted to offer an additional place to eat for guests at the McGregor’s Landing Bed and Bath, as well as others living in and visiting McGregor.

Boeke has facilitated several changes in the building to ready it for operation, most notably in the middle portion, or dining room of the McGregor Whistle Stop Cafe, where a wall was built and painted to close off the area from the kitchen. A rustic sliding door, which is one of Boeke’s favorite touches, was put up between the dining area and kitchen.

The kitchen was also re-configured and new equipment was purchased. In addition, Boeke said the bar area in Uncle Sam’s Saloon was rearranged to make it more efficient. Other changes include different tables and re-covered chairs, new curtains and updated photos and pieces on the walls.

Seating will also be available on the porch outside, allowing patrons to enjoy the view of downtown McGregor with their meals.

The McGregor Whistle Stop Cafe and Uncle Sam’s Saloon will be open Thursday through Sunday, from 2 to 8 p.m. (tentatively) each day, Boeke said, although hours on Sunday may change. By the middle of June, she said she hopes to have the business open seven days a week.

Although the event center portion of the building no longer hosts weddings, Boeke said it can still be rented for parties.

Boeke said the McGregor Whistle Stop Cafe’s menu will include pizza, sandwiches and a variety of appetizers. She added that they’re working toward barbecue, including baby back ribs, as well as a good chicken dish for Sundays.

“We’re looking for things that are a bit different or have a twist,” she said.

Eventually, she said, they hope to have 1919 root beer and root beer floats, along with frozen yogurt.

Boeke and her husband, Jim, have run McGregor’s Landing for 10 years, in addition to River Junction Trade Co., which was founded in McGregor over 40 years ago. She said she’s looking forward to the next step in the McGregor’s Landing adventure.

“It’s exciting and different,” she said, noting that she’s always been involved in sewing, production and retail. While doing this, she will remain involved at River Junction. “I’m up for the challenge. I think people will enjoy it.” 

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