Published On: Wed, Mar 9th, 2011

Business takes customers back in time

WYNOT— Wynot’s newest business is a step back in time.
The Olde Tavern here is expected to have a liquor license before the end of the month.

Even without the liquor license, customers have been coming through the door since The Olde Tavern opened on Nov 29.
“I have had great support from the community and from the surrounding areas – just by word of mouth,” owner Nancy Rolfes said.
The Olde Tavern has been opening at 8 a.m. and offers breakfast items which include eggs, French toast, pancakes, bacon, sausage and hash browns.
At noon, customers have the choice of ordering off the menu or enjoying a lunch special. In the evenings food can be ordered from the menu – closing time changes from day to day right now.
“Closing time varies because I don’t have a liquor license yet,” she said. “If no one comes in – I close up.”
A breakfast buffet is available on Sunday mornings from nine am to one pm.
Sunday afternoon and evenings are set aside for private parties.
After The Olde Tavern secures a liquor license, Rolfes has plans to add a Friday night fish fry.
Rolfes has been at The Olde Tavern from morning to closing time since its doors opened.
The Olde Tavern is open for business Tuesday through Sunday and is closed on Monday.
Rolfes said she has a great staff which includes high school and college students.
It has been a long road since Rolfes first had the idea to open her own business in downtown Wynot.
The Olde Tavern is housed in a building that is over one-hundred years old.
Rolfes, along with a lot of help from others, worked for over a year on restoring and remodeling the building and meeting State codes before The Olde Tavern opened three months ago.
Rolfes along with her brother, sisters, brother-in-law, Mom, sons, cousin and nephews put a lot of work into the building which had been vacant for two years.
“It was a big family project,” Rolfes said.
A huge amount of work went into the one-hundred and two year old building which had started out as a hardware store. Through the years several different owners used the building for bar and grill type businesses – the Sand Bar was the last one to occupy the building.
“We had to meet State codes with the Fire Marshall and the Health and Electrical Inspectors,” Rolfes said. “My electrician went beyond and above to help get everything done.”
The kitchen, which was gutted, was the biggest challenge according to Rolfes. A stainless steel hood and a new vent system were installed. The floor was jacked up and leveled.
A large walk-in cooler in the front of the building was torn out and replaced with an energy efficient cooler which is now located near the kitchen.
The exterior on the front of the building will be remodeled this spring and a sign announcing The Olde Tavern will be put in place.
Rolfes, who had been working as a dental assistant in Yankton for 16 years, has some experience in the restaurant/ bar business as she has worked for Bogner’s Steakhouse in Crofton for over thirteen years and at the Sportsman Steakhouse as part-time jobs.
“I had always wanted to start a business of my own. I gave it a lot of thought but I decided to give it a try,” Rolfes said. “I have always been a big Wynot supporter. I fought for our school.”
She has used her artistic talent and love of antiques to create a unique setting at The Olde Tavern which is located in a building that is over a century old.
Rolfes, along with a lot of help from family members added several brick pillars and wainscoting on the north wall in The Olde Tavern.
“I wanted to get the one-hundred and two year old look back.” Rolfes said.
“Carpet had been put on the wall along with some paneling that had pheasants on it. When we tore the carpet off – the plaster came off and we had to re-plaster the wall.”
A large number of black and white photos featuring scenes from the Village of Wynot in its early years now hang on the wall.
“The pictures show Wynot when it was first established – they are reproductions,” Rolfes said. “People love looking at them when they come in.”
The front and back bars, which were in the building, when it was purchased have been restored. The back bar still has the original drawer pulls and a large mirror and has stained glass featured in the doors.
A counter, which had been used when the building housed a hardware store in the early 1900s, has been brought back to life as a coffee counter.
A couple of round oak tables that were in the building have been refinished and are being used. A long shelf on one wall holds a variety of antique items, a large butter churn sits in one corner and customers pass an old trunk as they make their way towards the back of the building.
The original plank wall and the wood floor were preserved in the hallway that leads to the restrooms.
The one-hundred and two year old brick wall was kept in-tact in one of the bathrooms and in part of the hallway.
The bathrooms were completely re-done and decorated according to Rolfes.
This isn’t the first time Rolfes and other family members have taken on the job of restoring a building in Wynot in an effort to retain some of the Village’s history. The Harness Shop, which sits across the street and on the corner from The Olde Tavern, was brought back to life by Rolfes, her brother Marlyn Wiebelhaus and sister Mary Wiebelhaus shortly before Wynot’s Centennial three years ago.
The building is the original wooden structure which had housed Tony Stratman’s Harness Shop at one time – the Shop was used for a harnesses and shoe repair business.
The group worked on the building for eight years. The building was leaning when they started but they were able to save the original ceiling along with the roof windows that were used to let heat out of the building.
The work bench that Stratman used, two wooden boxes with dividers that were used to ship leather supplies along with a wooden ticket holder which had been used at the Wynot Railroad Depot and other pieces from Wynot’s history are in the two-room Harness Shop.
A landscaping project on the lot next to the Harness Shop was also completed. Bushes, trees and flowers along with a sidewalk that leads into an area with a park bench were added.
The former Wynot graduates are proud of Wynot and had wanted to preserve a little bit of Wynot’s history.
Rolfes grew up in Wynot and graduated from Wynot High School. Her three children are also Wynot graduates.