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Table’s set at Covered Bridge

Kelly Quirk and Bruce “Wally” Lohman are preparing to reopen the Covered Bridge Restaurant on May 20. (Photo by Sandy Hadler, contributor)

By Sandy Hadler


ZUMBROTA — The iconic Covered Bridge Restaurant is reopening after being closed for several months. The restaurant, located on Highway 52 northwest of downtown, was built in the mid-seventies and has been owned by Corky Falk ever since.

Bruce “Wally” Lohman has taken over management of the establishment. He and his partner, Kelly Quirk, have leased the combined restaurant, sports bar and liquor store from Falk. They just moved to Zumbrota, where Lohman has roots. He attended first grade here and is related to a number of people in town. He played baseball and softball in Zumbrota for years.

Quirk is from Olivia, Minnesota. She attended art school and will have a studio in the restaurant building. She specializes in landscapes and pet portraits. Some of her pictures will be exhibited in the restaurant.

Lohman said that in July 2013 he sold the Pickle Factory in Pepin, Wisconsin, to Marianne and Steve Dove. He owned the restaurant, located in the old Pepin Pickling Company, since June 2003. After selling, he moved to Arizona and found that he missed the people in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“This place was shut down. I knew the owner, and we decided to do it again,” he said of his new venture in Zumbrota.

Over the years, Lohman has managed six bars. He said there will be a lot of emphasis placed on the sports bar and on sports. The dining room will have a classic supper club atmosphere. The new menu will include many of the favorite foods the Covered Bridge is known for — burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, steak, shrimp, and salmon. He will add broasted chicken and homemade pizzas to the menu.

Shari Kothenbeutel, Falk’s daughter, will manage the kitchen, and longtime chef Dave Friedrich will return. Scott Windhorst will manage the bar. Quirk will manage the liquor store, and help out the staff as needed. In a few weeks, there will be 35 full- and part-time employees.

Water pipes that broke last winter, resulting in the closing of the restaurant, have been repaired, they said, and employees are now in the process of seeing that the kitchen equipment is up and running before the start date of May 20.

The kitchen will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. The bar will open at 11 a.m. and will close at a yet undetermined time each day. The liquor store will open at 11 a.m. and close at 10 p.m., six days a week. A grand opening is planned for August.

“I’ve been in business for 32 years. I love people and dealing with the public,” Lohman said.

“It’s been really fun to see how excited people are that the restaurant is opening,” Quirk said. “And we are really excited to reopen it.”