Reads Landing Brewing Company
Casey Mehrkens knew from the start she wanted to be a professional chef. Training started at LeCordon Bleu in Minneapolis with the basics in soups/sauces, butchering/baking and knife skills. Her first position was dessert chef at Pazzaluna Urban Italian in St. Paul, MN. She quickly learned more than desserts working pantry, pizza, pasta master, and broil chef, finally ending up as lead cook. An opening for Sous Chef took her to Pazzaluna’s sister company, RJ’s American Grill in St. Cloud, MN. For two years, she helped develop and grow the restaurant’s reputation as “Best New Venue” (St. Cloud Times, March 2008).
Southeast Minnesota has a way of drawing people back. Although Casey had become a successful chef, she missed her friends and family in the area. When the chance to work at RLBC came up, she jumped at the opportunity to return to the area she knew and the people she grew up with. We are lucky to have her back to help us maintain the high standards of food and service we are known for.
The building was constructed in 1870 and opened as a dry goods store owned by Mr. Helmich and Mr. Warsawski. It is situated with an unobstructed view of the Mississippi River with only an occasional freight/Amtrak train passing in front. The business closed shortly after it opened and changed hands multiple times. The building was reopened as a bar in 1939 until the mid 1950’s. At that time, it was leased to a restaurateur that opened the original Anchor Inn restaurant. The restaurant was so successful that the owner wanted to expand and moved to Wabasha in the early 1960s.
The store area has been converted to the bar and restaurant. During the warmer months patrons can relax, dine, and enjoy cold beverages on our beautiful deck that overlooks the Mississippi River.
Reads Landing, Minnesota
Reads Landing is a historically significant town in SE Minnesota. The town was founded by Charles Read in the mid 1800s, as a trading post. It soon grew to a major river town at the mouth of Lake Pepin and a hub for the logging and riverboat industries. White pine was cut and floated down the Chippewa River to Reads where the logs were tied into rafts and pushed up/down stream to waiting mills. During the winter, loggers, riverboat men, and Native Americans wintered in the town of 20+ hotels, 30+ saloons and two commercial breweries. Our building was constructed in 1869 as a dry goods store. It operated for a few years until the owners closed and sold the building. Reads Landing was once considered to be named the capitol of Minnesota because of its importance to trade.
n 1880, the railroad bought the property along the river, demolished buildings, and laid track. There was even a pontoon bridge that crossed the Mississippi just below Reads. This began the decline of Reads Landing. Soon the white pine was logged out and the town faded to its current state. Reads Landing now has a population of about 200 people with a few bed and breakfast inns and antique shops.
Reads Landing is in Wabasha County. Other towns include Wabasha, Lake City, Plainview and many other small towns. Population of the county is about 25,000 with Red Wing and Winona within 35 miles of the town. Lake Pepin, while being part of the Mississippi River, is a naturally created lake that over the centuries has created the bluffs and natural beauty in the area. Lake Pepin and the surrounding area (Wisconsin shoreline included) have become a tourist destination for people from the metro area. The area is perfect for day and weekend trips to get away from the cities without having to drive hours to northern Minnesota. Motorcyclists and bicyclists have really taken to the drive along the river and the twisting and turning roads. Eagle watchers come every fall and winter to see these birds up close and personal. Many sit in trees just outside our building or on the ice along the open water of the river during the winter months. While I certainly want local residents to enjoy the brewpub, a great deal of business will come from these travelers.