By Jordan Gerard
Editor, The Caledonia Argus
A long-awaited goal is finally coming to completion, as a new restaurant gets ready to open in downtown Caledonia.
Rustic Tap is a new bar and grill in the place of the former Hardware Hank store at 208 E. Main St.
Owner and proprietor Kalvin Kowalewski said he’s looking forward to an exciting atmosphere and having the best food around in southeast Minnesota and southwest Wisconsin.
“I’m excited to get open, get people in the door,” he added.
An opening date is expected in September and hours will be Monday through Thursday, from 3 to 10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to close.
The menu will feature a wide variety of pizzas, burgers, wings and appetizers, while the bar will have craft beer, domestics and a full bar.
Kowalewski said he plans to use fresh ingredients and have a “very small limitation on what’s frozen.” Most of the menu is homemade, including the pizza dough and sauce.
As for COVID-19 precautions, he said servers, bartenders and cooks will be wearing masks, while separated seating and hand sanitizers will be available for customers. Take out will also be available by calling 507-725-2101.
Turning a hardware store into a bar and grill was a lengthy process, but worthwhile. Kowalewski bought the building in 2012 and wanted to do something with the lower space. Three apartments occupy the upper level.
“I thought what better than a restaurant?” he said. He’s also no stranger to the restaurant business, as his family owned Little Miami in Freeburg for a time.
The remodeling process started in 2014 with new flooring, plumbing, ceiling, windows and new bar. The air conditioning and heating were also updated.
Additionally, the west interior brick wall was also removed to open up the other side of the restaurant, allowing for more seating. The kitchen and bathrooms were also added.
When he’s not running Rustic Tap or working for the railroad, Kowalewski enjoys fishing. He is originally from Minneiska, Minnesota.