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Brickhouse wins Red Wing chamber's restaurant of the year award

Editor's note: This is the first of five stories profiling award-winning businesses honored at Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting.

In 2010, Mitzi Bjork and Shaun Ryan went from novices to restaurateur pros.

The Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce last week named the mother-and-son duo's Brickhouse Pub and Grille, 433 Main St., the local restaurant of the year.

Not too bad for Bjork and Ryan, who knew little to nothing about the restaurant business when they bought the Brickhouse - then Potter's on Main - in October 2009.

"It's been fun. It's been a educational year," Ryan said. "We're all still new to the game and learning as we go."

Bjork shared that sentiment. She said they had to learn how to schedule for busy times and manage their staff and become experts in the food and beverages they serve.

Ryan added, "You learn how unique people really are and how to work to keep them happy."

Meanwhile, Bjork said she likes the atmosphere they've have been able to create inside the Brickhouse -- which she described as business casual.

She was also quite pleased with the chamber award.

"To be chosen by our peers ... truly, truly humbling. We're very grateful," she said.

More importantly, Bjork said, the restaurant's customers have been very loyal.

Going forward, the owners said they want to build on their success. They've introduced live music on Thursday nights. And in the next month the Brickhouse will tweak its menu. Ryan added that they would like to add some more craft beers to the bar's lineup.