Cottage Grove Applebee's reopens after whirlwind makeoverOver a 66-hour period earlier this week, restaurant staff and construction workers worked feverishly to give the Cottage Grove Applebee's a makeover inside and out.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
The food and furniture was hustled out the door behind the last patrons to leave Applebee's last Sunday night.
Over the ensuing 66 hours, restaurant staff and construction workers worked feverishly to give the restaurant a makeover inside and out. They installed new seating throughout the dining and bar areas and added features in an attempt to strengthen the restaurant’s connection to the Cottage Grove community.
“It’s just a fresh update; it needed it,” general manager Mandy Gillstrom said of the restaurant that’s been open about 10 years. It’s one of about 20 Applebee's in Minnesota that are undergoing similar renovations this year.
The renovation that started May 13 wrapped up within less than three days and the spiffed-up restaurant reopened at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 16.
“It’s really overwhelming – just the sense of pride that we did this,” Gillstrom said of the quick turnaround. “It’s really amazing.”
Work at the Cottage Grove location began not long after the restaurant closed on Mother’s Day.
A crew of about a few dozen workers painted walls, installed new carpeting, added stonework to the exterior, replaced lighting fixtures, dressed up the bar area, brought in new dining booths and chairs and bar stools, updated signage, completed electrical work, mounted new large-screen TVs and made other improvements.
The restaurant at 8380 East Point Douglas Road is highlighting three design additions specific to Cottage Grove. A new wall mural above a corner booth in the dining area features vintage paintings and photographs of the Cottage View Drive-In, the outdoor theater just down the road that is set to close for good later this year.
Across the restaurant and near the bar area is a wall dedicated to local high school sports: photographs of Park and East Ridge student-athletes hang side by side.
Also, as patrons enter the restaurant they will see a sign above the lobby that features the city’s new motto: Where Pride and Prosperity Meet.
Gillstrom said Applebee's has always strived to be a neighborhood establishment. The recent ‘round-the-clock renovation was meant to “just get it a little more, ‘This is Cottage Grove’s restaurant.’”
“We really welcome everybody to come in and check things out,” she said.