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New pub comes to Afton

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The Lumberyard Pub is the same location as a former lumberyard, which opened in 1905. 7 / 7

Afton’s new restaurant is hoping to be a cut above the rest.

The Lumberyard Pub will open Friday, in the former Sail Away Cafe’ location, in Afton’s Old Village.

“We hope Afton folks can feel like our establishment represents them well,” said John Vecere, co-owner for the restaurant.

The Lumberyard Pub is owned by Vecere, Billy Mauer, the brother of Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins, and Scott Dahl.

“Billy and I have been in business together for a long time and Scott is a friend of ours,” Vecere said, “and when we saw this opportunity and it was kind of an easy decision to make.”

Mauer and Vecere work together at Mauer Chevrolet in Inver Grove Heights.

The Lumberyard Pub, located at 3121 St. Croix Trail S, is going back to Afton’s roots by celebrating the building’s early days.

The site was purchased by the  Anderson Lumber Company in 1904.  Anderson sold the property to Interstate Lumber in 1905 and it was operated as a lumberyard for approximately 80 years.  The building was abandoned for a number of years when it was purchased and renovated as the Afton Market Square in 1991.  

“People remember that and we wanted to keep with that idea,” Vecere said. “We wanted to go back into the woods.”

Upon entering the Lumberyard Pub the building’s history of lumber is immediately evident with wooden tables, wooden paneling on the walls, wood floors and a long wooden bar.

“It was a complete tear out,” Vecere said.  “We had the doors open during construction so people could build it with us in a sense.”

The owners began renovating the Lumberyard Pub in February.

The Lumberyard Pub will also have a large outdoor patio for customers to enjoy.

The menu for the Lumberyard Pub will be quite eclectic with appetisers ranging from a 200-year-old Bavarian pretzel recipe to poutine

On the entree side, the Lumberyard Pub will serve such pub staples as burgers, flatbreads, salads, sandwiches and of course fish and chips.

A few unique items on the menu include bangers and mash, street tacos and even a fried Spam sandwich.

“We wanted to have a little something for everyone,” Vecere said.

At the bar, the Lumberyard Pub will have over 50 beers.

“We’ll have an extensive craft selection,” Vecere said, “a lot of local stuff.”  

The Lumberyard Pub is planning to serve breakfast on the weekends starting this summer.

Live music and special events will also be part of the Lumberyard Pub, Vecere said.

Vecere said he and the other owners are excited to bring a new restaurant to the Afton community.

“We're overwhelmed by the excitement and anticipation  – people seem to like what we've done with the place,” Vecere said. “We have such a passion for service and  we're looking to be very vibrant place.”

The Lumberyard Pub, located at 3121 St. Croix Trail S in Afton, will open at 4 p.m. on Friday. Normal restaurant hours are: 11 a..m. to 10 p.m. Sunday thru Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Lumberyard Pub can be found online at

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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