United Steaks and Spirits expects fall grand reopening

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From Quality Beverages to United Steaks and Spirits, some facelifts have occurred inside the retail store, which will soon be opened up to include a butcher shop this fall, and in 2023, a meat locker behind the facility as well. (Photos by Correne Martin)

This spring, brothers Kevin and Mike Lenzendorf and their cousins Nikki and Cory Raisbeck purchased QB in Bridgeport from Gus and Gary Welter. In mid-May, they began renovating the liquor store and the other half of the building (formerly a flooring store) into a new full service butcher shop and retail store.

By Correne Martin, Courier Press

 

The owners of the new United Steaks and Spirits plan a grand reopening of the former Quality Beverages this fall. The official date is yet to be set. Though plans are moving along.

 

This spring, brothers Kevin and Mike Lenzendorf and their cousins Nikki and Cory Raisbeck purchased QB in Bridgeport from Gus and Gary Welter. In mid-May, they began renovating the liquor store and the other half of the building (formerly a flooring store) into a new full service butcher shop and retail store.

 

“We’ve all grown up in the ag industry of some sort. When we started our Angus herd, we wanted to eventually provide that true farm-to-table option that could bring people closer to where their food comes from,” said Kevin. 

 

The Lenzendorfs run Meadow Lawn Angus just outside of Eastman and the Raisbecks have Whispering Hill Farms in rural Bagley. Kevin said their farm was established in 2015 after they bought their first cattle the year prior from the Pedrettis, north of Prairie du Chien. The Raisbecks’ current farm began in 2017.

 

With the difficulties they experienced getting appointments for their cattle at area locker plants, the conversations began about opening their own meat processing facility. 

 

When the stars aligned for them to purchase QB, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity. 

 

“We can’t say enough about the Welter family and dealing with them throughout the purchase. We’re happy to be keeping this a family business for the community, selling local products. That’s our passion,” Kevin stated. 

 

In preparing, the young entrepreneurs toured 80 to 90 meat lockers this spring. They started an interior facelift at the business that involved corrugated steel trim to compliment the already handsome woodwork. The wine cooler was moved across the store. Also, a mini cigar cave is expected, checkout lanes will be moved to improve flow of the retail space, and of course meat cases and finished goods freezers will be added. Meat cutting and cooler spaces will be constructed as well. This should all be done by October or November, Kevin said. 

 

One exciting new offering United Steaks and Spirits will have, also this fall, is a drive-through on the south end of the building. Customers will be able to swing through and pick up their items there. They can call ahead to place their orders too.

 

For the next phase, which the owners anticipate to be finished by mid-2023, there will be a holding pen and a butcher shop built behind the existing United Steaks and Spirits facility. There is a shed standing there now, but that will come down. Plus, they will have a locker rail system and a smoker room.

 

Blueprints are on display at the entrance of the store for curious customers to view. 

 

Kevin also noted that loyal customers of the K9000 Dog Wash will be happy to know it is staying on the site as well.

 

With all of these ideas coming to fruition, there’s surely room for more possibilities. Kevin said they envision events such as wine and beer tastings, beef and bourbon nights, a wine and dine setup—the creative marketing activities are endless. Certainly, the mission is for only locally-raised, premium beef to be served, along with quality beverages.

 

They’ve been fortunate to have many family connections to the contractors upgrading the store, and Kevin said proudly that all the work is being provided by local workers.

 

He also noted that all the employees who worked for the Welters stayed on through the transition in ownership. Tracy Hebel is still the manager..

 

“The customer service is already great,” he said, sharing that he could see the current staff of 15 double by the time the entire renovation is complete. 

 

As work diligently continues on the site, the two families are anxiously awaiting all the good things to come.

 

At the recent County Line Country Festival, Meadow Lawn Angus cooked up 1,500 burgers for hungry music fans and they ran out. 

 

“We had lots of people asking where they could get more of our beef and why it tasted so good,” Kevin said. “We told them, it’s coming, and when you have good tasting beef, all it takes is salt and pepper.”

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