Serving it up |

Serving it up

Cafe to open in Centennial Hall

Avi Salzman

— A building that used to shoot coal smoke out of a shaky smokestack will be home to a somewhat cleaner enterprise now that the city has awarded a contract to a catering company for the cafe inside Centennial Hall.

The cafe is located inside what used to be the Carver Power Plant, which was built in 1900 after the city was incorporated. The power plant is connected to the new Centennial Hall and was divided into a meeting room, offices and the cafe.

Fritz Aurin, the owner of The Smokehouse, won the bid to operate the cafe, though the city is still working with him on a contract and a name for the space.

The city already has outfitted the cafe with some notable pieces of furniture, including the old back counter from F.M. Light and Sons and an Italian counter top.

In addition, a group of local ranchers burned their brands into a wide wooden door between the cafe and a meeting room.

Members of the Centennial Hall Committee decided to place a cafe in the building in order to add a culinary touch to the visual and acoustic experience of being inside Centennial Hall.

“Food is part of almost every public meeting that is held here,” City Council President Kevin Bennett said. “It’s part of opening community government more to the community.”

The cafe would be open during the morning and early afternoon and would open for any catered events, Aurin said. It will serve “unique sandwiches” and other baked goods and breakfast items, Aurin said. The cafe will not likely have an exclusive catering contract with the city, however. The city currently gets food for City Council and Planning Commission meetings at restaurants all over town.

Aurin said he decided to put a bid out to operate the cafe both because of the desirability of the space and because it is so close to the Smokehouse that he can coordinate catering efforts and storage with the main restaurant. The cafe will open by early fall, Aurin said.

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