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Badgers Den bar opens in Solon Springs

Owner of the Badgers Den, Tom Brausen, takes a break from getting the bar ready Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 6, in Solon Springs. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com) 1 / 7
Owner of the Badgers Den, Tom Brausen, turns on the lights in part of the dining room Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 6, in Solon Springs. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)2 / 7
The Badgers Den, formerly Smithy’s, will open in Solon Springs on Monday, Feb. 11. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com) 3 / 7
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A new business, Badgers Den, is set to open in Solon Springs on Monday, Feb. 11, in the former Smithy's Supper Club building. It will start as a bar that offers pizzas and grow into its restaurant side.

"We'll open the kitchen as we can," said owner Tom Brausen, hopefully by spring.

He said the 8-acre parcel is brimming with potential, and he aims to provide a spot where visitors can enjoy good company and good times.

The community has been welcoming, Brausen said, and people seem to be excited to see the business open.

The biggest challenge the new owner has faced is the recent cold weather. The temperature reached 34 degrees below zero in Solon Springs one morning, and Brausen had to thaw out some pipes.

This is Brausen's second hospitality business. He opened The Hideaway Chalet near Brainerd, Minnesota, years ago, but changed careers while raising his family. He was working as an ATV engineer for Arctic Cat until the company relocated his position from St. Cloud, Minnesota, to Augusta, Georgia. Brausen decided to remain in the area and return to his hospitality roots.

Named for its rustic, woodsy location, Badgers Den will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to close Friday and Saturday. The business offers on and offsale beer and liquor as well as pizza.