The Corner Bar and Grill

Stanton is fortunate in that there is both strong community interest in supporting a full-service restaurant and the financial ability to do so. Although it has a population of under 700, it is extremely unique in that the median household income is above the state average. Additionally, in creating the Viking Center, the community has a proven track record of coming together to develop and support the operation of a local enterprise that benefits the entire community.

The key to success for a new restaurant will be fully embracing the spirit of Stanton – essentially creating a location beyond the Viking Center and makerspace for people to congregate and celebrate. Developed correctly, there also is strong potential for this new restaurant to draw patrons from outside the community by offering a game day retreat for sports enthusiasts as well as drawing in attendees at local athletic events and tournaments and campers and visitors to the state park.

The Corner Bar and Grill would occupy a community-identified building located at the corner of Broad Avenue and Thorn Street. The bones of the identified space are excellent. It has both an obvious operational flow and a strong potential for creating a “vibe” that capitalizes on current restaurant interior trends that highlight the “reclaimed,” “repurposed,” and original elements of a building (in this case, the original brick walls, wood floor, and ornate ceiling) while offering a gastropub-style menu (modern takes on classic bar food) and a solid selection of domestic favorites and Iowa craft beers both on tap and by the bottle.

From the moment guests walk in to The Corner Bar and Grill, there will be no question that they have entered a sports bar. Eight to twelve flat screen televisions will ensure everyone’s favorite team and/or sport can be seen on a screen. There will be seating at the bar for fifteen with an additional four high top bar tables along the wall (27 seats) and another 50-60 seats in the “dining” area in front. Tables in the front will primarily be four tops but can easily be reconfigured for larger groups. It is strongly suggested that the green chairs currently being stored in the building be cleaned and repurposed for the dining area. The entire team agreed they were “awesome.”

The gastropub menu will offer burgers, wings, and sandwiches and will also include daily specials to draw crowds including steak and Iowa chops with a focus on locally sourced produce and proteins. Daily specials will need to be marketed as “food events,” and the owner will need to resist adding the most popular specials to the daily menu. Consumers across all demographics have clearly identified a desire to “have an experience” as a far preferable way to spend money than to purchase an item; nightly specials can tap into this desire.

Beyond the sports bar experience, The Corner Bar and Grill will fully embrace, promote, and capitalize on the pride and history of Stanton. Any décor beyond the brick walls should be minimal, but what is there will feature memorabilia or historic photos celebrating the community —particularly its one-time minor league baseball team. It will be important for the establishment to tie itself to every community and school event. If there is a fundraiser, The Corner Bar and Grill needs to be a central part of it — whether this means providing food or sponsoring or hosting a party. The Corner Bar and Grill will need to embody Stanton pride.

More details on The Corner Bar and Grill can be found in Appendix L.

Hours of Operation

Monday – Thursday 4 PM – 9 PM
Friday 4 PM – 12 AM
Saturday 11 AM – 12 AM
Sunday 11 AM – 9 PM

The Action Steps

Recruit Owner/Operator With A Strong Business Background

Placemaking steering committee, Montgomery County Development Corporation, Iowa Restaurant Association

Secure building. Work with city and county to secure incentives. If owner is not operator, secure a favorable lease structure to attract tenant. Look for someone who will be visible and present in the restaurant. The best choice for this role is someone with strong ties to the community.

Q3 2018

Develop Buildout Concept

Architect, owner/operator, Montgomery County Development Corporation

Personalize business plan in Appendix L to capitalize on current restaurant interior trends and to offer a gastropub-style restaurant. Be sure to play up Stanton’s history and lead with Stanton pride.

Q4 2018

Secure Capital To Complete Buildout

Owner/operator, Montgomery County Development Corporation

Seek local incentives and local financial institution to ensure favorable, low-risk financing. Be sure to share construction progress online to build excitement for The Corner Bar and Grill ahead of opening.

Q2 2019

Hire Staff And Open


Hire appropriate staff for various shifts, with the expectation of increased staff on weekends. For front of house, plan on 1 staff member for every 5-6 tables per shift. For back of house, plan on 3 staff per shift. For support staff, plan on 1-2 bussers and dishwashers per shift. Look to local students in need of a first or part-time job. If possible, overstaff initially; that way, if some team members don’t work out, there are still adequate numbers of trainer personnel to provide a strong first impression. Plan and host grand opening celebration.

Q3 2019