A tri-lakes business that offers campgrounds, a bar and a special recipe pizza has changed hands.

The Backyard on Amnicon Lake, formerly known as Amnicon Acres, reopened under new owners, Chase and Amanda Nordby, Jan. 5.

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for the St. Croix Falls couple, who purchased the business New Year’s Eve and immediately moved their family to Douglas County. Their three children started school in the Superior School District two days after The Backyard opened, and the couple has been renovating their on-property home, while putting their own stamp on the business.

The business in the town of Summit is open six days a week, and the Nordbys plan to expand the menu soon. Currently, the business offers the signature pizzas Amnicon Acres has become known for. Amanda Nordby said the cheese is what sets them apart.

Patrons will find familiar faces when they stop by. The couple retained the bar's two part-time staff members and hired a part-time cook. They may hire a third bartender, Amanda Nordby said. Their kids help out as well. After a recent snowfall, the youngest Nordbys cleared snow off the deck overlooking Lake Amnicon.

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More changes are planned for the spring.

Chase Nordby said they plan to add an additional dock to the 10 slips they have on Amnicon Lake in front of the business. The campground offers 48 campsites of which all but 10 are already rented to seasonal campers who return every year and five mobile homes for rent. The Nordbys run a small store out of the bar, offering odds and ends campers may have forgotten to bring with them, as well as a laundry facility.

Amanda and Chase Nordby pose next to the sign at their new establishment, The Backyard on Amnicon Lake, Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Amanda and Chase Nordby pose next to the sign at their new establishment, The Backyard on Amnicon Lake, Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

The couple is mulling the option to add campsites, maybe some that are more rustic, on a 40-acre parcel that’s not being used currently. Oh, and they’d like to offer an option for online pizza orders.

Highway 35 brought the family to Douglas County. Chase Nordby has been coming up to the area to visit the Apostle Islands and Washburn area since he was 4 years old. The entire family enjoys spending time on Lake Superior.

For years, the Nordbys were looking for an outdoor business near Lake Superior with room for expansion. The campgrounds and bar on Amnicon Lake fit the bill.

“It was this property; it was exactly what we’d been looking for, exactly what we wanted,” Amanda Nordby said.

Chase Nordby cleans a table at The Backyard on Amnicon Lake Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Chase Nordby cleans a table at The Backyard on Amnicon Lake Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

“And we just think it’s a great atmosphere to have our kids grow up in,” Chase Nordby said.

It was a good time to make the move, they said, before their 14-year-old started high school.

Amanda Nordby, who will work at the business full-time, brings years of fast food experience to the table. Chase Nordby owned his own sandblasting business in St. Croix Falls before moving into management for his previous employer, Cardinal Glass, which ate up all his time.

They’re learning new things as they go along.

“This is my first week as a bartender,” Chase Nordby said Wednesday, Jan. 13.

The best thing about launching their own business, they said, has been the people they meet.

“Everyone’s been so welcoming up here, it’s unreal,” Amanda Nordby said. “Just helpful and everybody wants to lend a helping hand.”

The new owners kept the former Amnicon Acres phone number, 715-399-8443. Or visit The Backyard on Amnicon Lake Facebook page for more information.