BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) — The owner of Gabe’s Rinkside Bar and Grill says curling is becoming a sport that’s surging in popularity, and that’s why his new bar in Blaine is ahead of the times.
“We’re in the complex of the Fogerty Ice [Arena] House,” said Tim “Giggles” Weiss. “We have two hockey sheets here, plus a state of the art curling rink that has six lanes.”
Weiss says his new restaurant is the only North American year-round curling club. He says the sport is spreading quickly, and it could one day replace bowling.
Minnesota has roughly 5,000 curlers and there are 20 curling clubs.
The state of the art restaurant is set up like a luxury suite overlooking an NHL hockey rink.
It seats up 200 people and a wall of windows 14 feet high, separate the restaurant from six curling lanes. A total of 48 people, or twelve teams, can compete at one time.
Todd Birr is a professional curler who’s overseeing the ice. He says the rink-side restaurant is special to not only Minnesota, but to the entire nation.
“That’s pretty unique down here in the states,” Birr said. “There are some places in Canada that would be similar, but down here in the states it’s the only one I’m aware of.”
Weiss says Gabe’s Rinkside is the perfect place for someone who wants to learn how to curl. A curler uses a 40 pound stone and a broom to knock their opponent’s stone from the center of a target 140 feet away. The stones are made in Scotland.
Weiss owns two other restaurants: Giggles Campfire Grill at the Minnesota State Fair and The Original Gabe’s By the Park in St. Paul. The owner says not only is his new restaurant unique so is the menu.
“This is a very upscale menu with a curling theme,” Weiss said.
Several teams already use the ice for practice, and Weiss hopes to one day land the Olympic trials.
“We’ve had a lot of high performance teams come in to practice,” said Birr. “We’ve had really good reviews of the ice.”