Anoka approves East River Road restaurant

Anoka City Council has approved a conditional use permit for new owners to operate a restaurant on East River Road.

The building, long known as Frisky’s, which closed more than two years ago, has been purchased with Wayne Senior and George Barr planning to reopen it.

They plan to run a bar and restaurant with a full menu, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, according to Senior.

Businesses adjacent to residential areas in the city require a conditional use permit to operate, according to City Planner Erik Thorvig. This location had been approved for restaurant use since 1986 until the restaurant closed in February 2010.

“The property did go vacant for a year so just this last year the conditional use permit was revoked,” said Thorvig.

This then required a new conditional use permit, he said.

Senior said there has been a lot of work needed to clean up the building and renovations are planned both inside and out.

“It’s fallen on some hard times plus there was some vandalism to the building internally that had to be taken care of,” Senior told the city council.

He is still working on menu selection with chefs from Sysco, a food services company.

Senior said they are working to develop the right items and price points for the Anoka restaurant.

“Pretty much it’s going to be rebuilt to look like a Wild Bill’s or a Cowboy Jack’s type location where it will be more of a sports bar location but at the same time it will be full dining also,” said Senior.

He said he has already been hearing excitement from the people who live in the neighborhood.

Senior expects to be back before the council soon when he applies for a liquor license for the new restaurant.

According to the conditions approved by the council, outdoor activities including patio seating will be limited to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Councilmember Mark Freeburg questioned Senior about rumors circulating that there would be outdoor volleyball at the restaurant.

He said this is not part of the current plan.

“It was an idea thrown at me by my customers,” said Senior.

But the close proximity to the neighbors as well as a reduction in parking to put in volleyball court does not make it feasible, he said.

Senior said along with the restaurant business, he has also worked in construction, information technology and real estate. He said he previously owned a restaurant in Monticello.

“It’s going to be wonderful to see that building reopened and being reused,” said Councilmember Jeff Weaver.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at editor.anokaunion@ecm-inc.com

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