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Farm pizza nights not so popular with neighbors; new bistro proposed for downtown

Maelei Catt and Yuanting Boutsavath plan to open a bistro-style cafe at 127 N. Broad St. sometime this fall. The building formerly housed a dentist office. (Herald photo by Sarah Young)

PRESCOTT -- Borner Farm Project’s Friday pizza nights are a hit with customers, but apparently not so much with the farm’s neighbors.

A working farm in the heart of Prescott (1266 Walnut St.) that specializes in growing organic produce, sold onsite or through a CSA, Borner staff take orders for wood-fired pizzas using homegrown ingredients 5-8 p.m. every other Friday May through October. People are invited to relax on the grounds, using their own picnicware and chairs.

Resident Bill Hartman (1369 Walnut St.) told Prescott City Council members June 27 that neighbors are battling traffic and parking congestion in the neighborhood due to the pizza nights.

Ten to 20 cars turn around using his driveway, Hartman said. He questioned why a commercial business is allowed in a residential area, and how emergency vehicles would get through when the street is choked with parked cars on both sides.

Thirteen neighbors signed a petition calling for a change.

Baard Webster, co-owner of the Farm, said he was unaware of the petition and that parking was approved as part of their special use permit, granted in 2015.

“Neighbors just want to see us gone,” Webster said.

Bill Huppert (1163 Walnut St.) said neighbors don’t want the farm to disappear, but want laws enforced, dealing with parking and beer and wine sales.

Diane Webster, also a farm co-owner, was surprised to hear the neighbors’ complaints as she had heard nothing negative from them in conversations.

Mayor David Hovel reviewed minutes from the April 27, 2015 council meeting, when Borner’s special use permit was approved. Special use permits allow businesses to be located in residential areas, Hovel said.

The pizza nights seem to be growing in popularity, it was agreed. Diane Webster said 13-14 of the culinary events are held per summer, with the most pizzas served in one night numbering 149. Hovel said that means up to 300 people could be attending per Friday night, which Webster disputed. Discussion ping-ponged between supporting small business, resident expectations when buying homes in a neighborhood, reducing traffic and children running between parked cars.

Ultimately, the council granted the special use permit with a Class B beer and Class C wine license for 2016-2017, contingent on working with Police Chief Gary Krutke on parking restriction for one side of Walnut Street. Borner Farm must also provide the council a tally of pizza night attendees for the remainder of the 2016 season.

New restaurant

Prescott may soon have a new dining option, if all goes according to plan.

Maelei Catt, of Stillwater, and her cousin, Yuanting Boutsavath, of Woodbury, Minn., hope to open a bistro cafe in the former Gerald Gatzke dentist office at 127 N. Broad St. by September of October.

The duo will serve beer and wine, plus small appetizer plates. Guests will order at a counter for fast and casual dining. The menu will start small, with about 10 items.

“It probably won’t be a full restaurant this year, but hopefully next,” said Catt.

They also plan to add a deck to the back of the building.

As for a name, two options are on the table: Prescott Roadhouse or Backroads Bistro. Catt said she’s always been drawn to the river town as a Flood Run and day trip visitor; it’s always been her dream to open a cafe.

“They want to create something the locals will like, but not another burger and beer joint,” said Tony Dresser, the building’s owner. “I think they’ll be great tenants.”

Other business
  • Permits will be available to Oak Grove and Clifton residents for $15 for the city compost site.

  • A Class B beer and Class C wine license was approved for Papa Tronnio’s LLC.

  • A sidewalk cafe application was approved for Papa Tronnio’s and Twisted Oak Cafe.

  • An operator’s license was approved for Shannon Samuelson.

  • The council voted to proceed with development and final proposal for the city’s solar PV installation.

  • An HVAC upgrade, lighting retrofit and building envelope was approved for the municipal building.

  • Cheri Johnson was appointed to the Police Commission.

June 13 meeting
  • The council approved a proposal for professional civil design and construction engineering services for Broad Street curb and sidewalk replacement improvements in the amount of $8,350 with funds coming out of tax increment finance district #4

  • A proposal for design engineering services for Henry, Hampshire and James Street in the amount of $37,500 with funds coming out of capital fund reserves passed.

  • The council voted to install a 15-minute parking sign at the end of Orange Street.

  • The council voted to replace pump at the waste water treatment plant, costing $17,975 with $9,251 coming from the equipment replacement fund, $8,724 coming from sewer reserve funds and a repair of two pumps in the amount of $7,940 with $6,652 coming from the equipment replacement fund and $1,288 coming from sewer reserve.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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