The End of an Era

Minnesota's Long Beach New York

I spent the vast majority of my 20’s at a restaurant called Minnesota’s Bar and Grill. I would spend many Friday and Saturday nights at this place, twirling on the dance floor with my friends, my camera in one hand and a drink in the other.

A year or so after I graduated from college, I decided to make a move to Long Beach, the “City by the Sea”. I shacked up with three of my friends and was immediately thrown into the laid back lifestyle down there. It felt like college all over again. A ton of 20-something’s flocked to this area and I loved the post-college-like atmosphere. After six months of living “down west”, I was introduced to the manager at Minnesota’s. Ben was in dire need of a waitress who would work some of the worst best shifts and I was in dire need of some extra cash. Since I’ve been to the bar once or twice (or fifty) times before, I knew some of the staff and was familiar with the restaurant’s stellar reputation.

What I didn’t know was that the staff, managers, and owners would soon become my second family…

girlsminns

When I heard the news that the owners, who I’ve known for over 10 years, decided to sell the restaurant, I was shocked. When I think of my time spent at Minnesota’s, these guys always come to mind. Even though it’s an only a slight change internally, people who have frequented the restaurant and bar for years know it will be different. Even though nothing else may change, it’s an end of an era.

After I had heard, I was immediately transported back to my waitressing days… I thought about all the countless hours spent at this place, the hard work, the people I met along the way… and then I thought about all the amazing memories… 

Walk In

…summer nights in the walk-in, splitting beers and exchanging stories…

…nights twirling on the dance floor, beer in one hand and my camera in the other…

…Sunday’s serving brunch to folks who just hours before were slingin’ back shots…

…Monday nights, elbow deep in all-you-can-eat mussels…  

Mussel Monday Crew

…holidays serving some of the most loyal customers, handing out flowers on Mother’s Day, corn beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, and stuffing on Thanksgiving…

…summer mornings on the patio, filling up salt and pepper bottles, rolling silverware, talking about the events from the night before…

…afternoons in the kitchen, trying out Ray’s latest dishes or frying everything in sight…

…times where my last name became my first name (BAXTER!) and the nickname stuck forever…

…Irish Days at the beer truck, serving drunken 20-somethings pitchers of beer…

Long Beach Irish Day

… hours in the office, learning all that there is to know about running a business from some of the best owners and managers out there.

…tears, laughs, smiles, and everything in between, wedged between those four walls…

…days, nights, late nights, and early mornings with the staff that became more than friends… they became family…  

…nights at the back bar when the lights came on, and Biggie announced, “Ladies and Gentleman, the bar is now closed.”

The Bar is now Closed

Last night, I joined over a hundred people who have spent countless days and nights at Minnesota’s over the years, whether it for work or play, they all came together to” say goodbye”. It was great to see so many familiar faces and reminisce about our time spent there.

You see, when you work at a place like Minnesota’s, it’s not a job. It’s not just a place to show up, work a couple of shifts and leave. It’s a place where people genuinely care about each other. It’s rare to find the kind of love we found working at Minnesota’s…

Boys of Minnesotas

I’ve returned over the years, here and there, and the staff, the owners, treated me like I had never left. They would always give me a huge hug, ask how my family was doing, split a beer, and I would feel like I had never left… That’s the thing with family… you can move away from “home”, but the people will always be your family.

 

Dazed and Confused Halloween Costumes

Thank you, Tommy, Gallagher, Darren and Jim for opening up your “home” to all of us… We wish you nothing but success in your new ventures…

Darren and Baxter
Tommy, Baxter and John