RED WING -- After a speeding car crashed into the corner of Liberty’s Restaurant on the evening of Sept. 2, owner Doug Noreen wasn’t sure if or when the restaurant and second-floor apartments would reopen.
With the help of community members, employees, and construction crews, the restaurant started serving customers again on Oct. 1.
“People were missing our food, especially our pizza,” Noreen said. “On that first night, I finally had to go over and set the phone down. I said we can’t take any more orders. I have 45 pizzas to make right now.”
Noreen said it was nice to have so many people wanting to place orders, but he had to admit that he and his staff were overwhelmed, and he did not like to have customers waiting.
The second night was a Friday, which Noreen said are always the busiest nights, but he had extra staff on and they managed the demand better, although they still ended up being backed up to the point of being an hour and a half behind for deliveries.
"I had to put a notice on Facebook and apologize,” Noreen said. “It was also very heartwarming that the phone wouldn’t stop ringing, because everyone was waiting for us to reopen.”
Liberty’s is now open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. weekdays and until 11 on weekends. Noreen said access to the lounge is from Plum Street and the door to the dining room is from Third Street. The restaurant is open for takeout, dine-in, and delivery and is adhering to the state guidelines related to COVID-19.
Noreen said things have settled into a normal pace now, but he is still amazed at the number of offers he is getting from people in the community who want to help.
For example, he received an email from Char Henn at the Pottery Museum of Red Wing.
“She knew we had a lot of Red Wing pottery on display around the building,” Noreen said, “and she said that if anything was destroyed in the accident, we could come to the museum and get pieces to replace it. People have been so nice.”
The beauty salon Snips opened just before the beginning of October, Noreen explained, and renters were able to return to three of the five apartments on the second floor. Two other apartments will require further reconstruction, and he expects them to be ready about June 1.
When the Liberty’s building was built in 1886, there were two support columns outside near the corner of the building. Later, they were covered with sheetrock and plywood. Both were damaged in the accident.
“We are going to keep our entryway where it is right now,” Noreen said, “but I want to get those pillars exposed like they were originally. There are a couple of little things like that that we are going to try to incorporate, to try to get a positive out of a negative. That might cost a little bit extra out of pocket, but I think it is the right way to go.”