Shines Stories: Jimmy’s Pour House

by | Mar 18, 2022 | Stories | 0 comments

Much of the Sauk Rapids community was wiped out during the great cyclone of 1886 – but not a corner bar, now known as Jimmy’s Pour House. The building has been around since the late 1800s, and well, if those walls could talk – we know they’d have some of the best stories around.

Jimmy’s Pour House was established 45 years ago by Jim and Marilyn Lynch. In 1977, their family relocated from South St. Paul to Sauk Rapids with 6 of their 11 children in tow. At the time, Sauk Rapids had a population of around 5,200 residents. While the town was much smaller than South St. Paul, Jim and Marilyn fell in love with the quaint city. Jimmy had been in search of a bar or restaurant for over a year when he stumbled upon a little bar on the corner called the Blue Eagle. The bar had only three booths, three tables, and a pool table with a seating capacity of around 40 people. The Lynchs had never run a bar or restaurant, but Jim was determined he could turn this little place into something special. He was a very charismatic Irishman with an innate ability to promote his business. So, they changed the name to Jimmy’s Pour House, did some cosmetic renovations, and incorporated Jimmy’s Irish heritage and his love of golf in the décor.

When they were up and running, Jim & Marilyn added a small grill behind the bar and began selling hamburgers. There was only room to cook four hamburgers at a time, but they always insisted quality was the #1 priority. Word spread quickly of the tasty burgers and cold beer at Jimmy’s Pour House. It wasn’t long before a small expansion was underway including a larger grill and even a deep fryer! All the food was purchased locally as they partnered up with Earl’s Bakery and The Dairy Bar in Sauk Rapids. At the time, they had a slogan on their T-shirts “The Best Buns in Town” thanks to Earls Bakery! In addition, Jimmy’s partnered with locally owned and operated, Appert’s Foods. Appert’s produced a burger that was specifically made for their restaurant; those burgers and Early’s buns were a heavenly combination.

In 1989, Jimmy’s Pour House was purchased by their daughter Dena Hagberg. “By that time it was evident that a larger kitchen was needed. Another expansion was underway so we could expand our menu. That proved to be a hit with the community that had grown at close to 50% in just over 10 years.”

“20 years in – 1997 – meant time for another expansion. Sauk Rapids had nearly doubled in residents by then. So, we purchased the two homes to the south of our property with the help of the Sauk Rapids Housing and Redevelopment program. We purchased the homes utilizing the available Tax Increment Financing; this program proved to be the key to our growth. We had to demonstrate the future increase in property taxes and the additional jobs within the community would make the venture a worthy project to the City of Sauk Rapids. We added an additional thirty-five jobs and approximately $15,000 in additional property tax revenue for the City of Sauk Rapids and Benton County.

Our involvement and support of the local communities developed into more than just business. We became connected with the community. They were part of us and we, them. There was an article years ago that compared Jimmy’s to the TV show “Cheers.” It perfectly summed up the relationship between the business, the staff, and the community. Generations of families have called Jimmy’s their “Place to Be,” celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, wedding dinners, baby showers, and simply a place to feel welcome and at home. Many people don’t know that my dad, Jim, started the first-ever St. Patrick’s Day parade in the area and now it’s become an event that people all over the area enjoy.

Jimmy’s has always been a huge supporter of the local schools and sporting events in the area. We believe that building relationships within the community is a two-way street. It is our way to say, “Thank You” and support our local community as much as the community has supported Jimmy’s.

Doing business in Central Minnesota really encapsulates the Minnesota Nice” slogan. It is the perfect blend of Urban, Suburban, and Rural populations. Central Minnesota may not be the largest population of people, but it certainly has the biggest heart!”

Jimmy’s is in the process of planning a Summertime St. Patrick’s Day celebration they hope will become an annual event. They are still in the early planning stages – so no details yet – but it is sure to be a great community event.  


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