Cedric Ellingson is a small-town guy, always has been.
He's lived in small towns in Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin.
So his new restaurant Sippin Cedric's Grill and Taps on Ellsworth's Main Street is a natural fit for him.
"My calm spot in my life is small towns," he said.
In high school, he never expected he'd work in a restaurant or bar, but in 1996 he bought a pizzeria in a small town.
"I've just kind of been hooked ever since," he said.
He enjoys that a restaurant has the whole spectrum of the business in one sitting. Ellingson previously owned Bo's 'N Mine in River Falls and the Hammond Hotel in Hammond until a partner bought it out. That partner also bought the building at 305 W. Main St. He offered to lease the bar and grill part out to Ellingson. When Ellingson took a look, he was sold on the cool spot and smaller environment.
He was running a big restaurant at the airport, but that was not what he wanted anymore.
"I wanted a nicer, quieter, funner place to run," he said.
Currently the bar and grill is in the soft opening phase with a limited menu. The grand opening is set for the weekend of June 8.
Ellingson is looking forward to being open, and working with guests rather than the building aspects.
The bar and grill is a family-friendly place for anyone to stop in.
"I can always foresee families coming before they go to a ballgame, couples coming after work and having a cocktail before they go home and relax, Saturday afternoon drive by, people going to the lake stopping in and having a quick burger and a cocktail," he said.
That's the type of environment he's always had at previous bars he's owned. He wants the restaurant to be an easy place for people to stop in.
The menu will include breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a kids' menu. A five-piece breakfast will offer choices of eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and hash browns. Lunch and dinner will have burgers, dogs, brats, cheese curds, pizzas, sandwiches and more. Takeout will also be available.
The patio will be full-feature with a fire pit, bean bags, giant Jenga and TVs.
"You've got to do some activities," he said
Ellingson said he wants to do anything he can to play his role in the community, and add what he can to make it a better place.
"I think it's important to be part of the community you're in and support what's going on in the community," he said.
The whole of a downtown is what draws people into the community, he said, not just one business.
"The more that goes on the better. Empty buildings suck," he said.