Fairfax Frontier Bar & Grill turns page

FAIRFAX – Just because he recently retired after more than 30 years as Frontier Bar & Grill manager doesn’t mean Steve “Lenny” Linsmeier won’t be around anymore.

A member of the Fairfax Baseball Association for more than 40 years and currently the group’s president, Linsmeier will continue to account for pull tab gambling receipts sold at the city-owned on and off-sale bar and restaurant that benefit the baseball association.

“I’ll stay on the baseball board as along as everyone is OK with it. I’ve loved every minute of it,” Linsmeier said.

Fairfax has one of very few on- and off-sale municipal establishments left in the area. The business continues to be viable. It made a profit in 2012. The 2013 financial statements are not yet complete.

Linsmeier said the business has changed since he began working there more than three decades ago. “DWI laws are much tougher now,” he said.

In more recent years, the bar and grill expanded the types of food, beer, wine, and live entertainment offered. “There are many more craft beers available now. We’ve tried to keep up,” he said.

Linsmeier said some of the biggest crowds at the bar were in the late 1980s when Fairfax native Dana Kiecker was pitching for the Boston Red Sox. The liquor store had one of the first satellite television systems in the area installed, allowing patrons to watch all of Kiecker’s games on a wide screen.

Minneapolis Star Tribune sportswriter Pat Reusse came out to the establishment to watch one of the Red Sox games with Kiecker as the starting pitcher. Reusse interviewed people in Fairfax and wrote about the gathering in his sports column.

“He’s been down at the ball field ever since I can remember. You can usually find him working the concession stand, but he’s helped with all of it. He just loves baseball,” said Fairfax Cardinal amateur baseball manager Keith Buboltz, about Linsmeier.

For more than a decade, it was Fairfax Twins Fun Night that really brought people to town to enjoy Memorial Park in Fairfax, a pristine ballpark with one of the few digital displays at a small town field.

The event filled the ballpark seats with kids, current and former players and Twin Cities media celebrities for a unique, circus-like evening of beer, barbecued brats, baseball and live music by the Blue Ox Jazz Babies. Every half inning, door prizes and on-field games would be played while fans got autographs and photos with some of the greatest former Minnesota Twins players.

Buboltz said there is interest in continuing Twins Fun Night in Fairfax. “We’re working on trying to do it again. (Hector native and businessman) Curt Sampson is the guy that puts it together (on his birthday). If he says ‘yes,’ we’ll do it.”

The list of former Twins taking part in Twins Fun Night includes Dana Kiecker (and his brother Brock), Harmon Killebrew, Bert Blyleven, Tony Oliva, Frank Quilici, Juan Berengeur, Terry Steinbach and his brothers Tom and Tim, Corey Koskie, among other baseball celebrities including Wally “The Beerman,” and Dick “The Trickster” Wilkie.

Linsmeier said Sampson was a great supporter of Fairfax Twins Fun Night. “He’s been very generous to us,” Linsmeier said.

He said the City of Fairfax always met the baseball association “half way” on whatever project or event was going on.

Fairfax native Gary Hess, who played and later managed the Fairfax Cardinals amateur baseball team for two decades, said Linsmeier was always at the ballpark for any event. “He was there every night we were, working concessions or the gate,” Hess said. “We got great support from the baseball association and City of Fairfax.”

“Happy retirement to Steve,” said Fairfax City Administrator Marcia Seibert-Volz. “It’s not easy (to manage a municipal on- and off-sale liquor store and grill). It’s work.”

The Frontier Bar & Grill is now managed by former assistant manager Katelyn Frederickson.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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