A small town bar is a meeting place for more than the locals | Characteristic

STANTON — Wolf’s Den Bar and Grill in Stanton has operated under the direction of a mother-daughter duo for nearly 41 years, establishing itself as a go-to spot in Stanton County and beyond.

The company prides itself on having the “best burgers around”, which is supported by the company’s growth over the years, largely attributed to booming food sales.

The Wolf’s Den, located at 817 S. 10th St. in Stanton, was purchased by Lynnette Raasch in 1981 from Diane Wolf and the late Bob Wolf. Raasch owned and managed the bar for nearly 30 years before handing the reins over to his daughter, Brandi Easley, in 2009.

Raasch was born and raised in the area and wanted to build on the experience she already had working in restaurants. Raasch didn’t really know what to expect when she bought the business, she said, but it was a chance she said she was willing to take.

“I’ve always loved waiting for people and I’ve always loved cooking,” Raasch said. “It turned out to be for sale, and I saw an opportunity there.”

The Wolf’s Den has remained a staple in the community, which Raasch and Easley said is a credit to the combination of a loyal clientele, who stick to what works, and loyal employees.

“It’s the support from small towns and the friendships we’ve made with people over the years that make our jobs really enjoyable,” Easley said. “And, with Stanton, we have customer support from all over – Clarkson, Dodge, Leigh, Wisner, Pilger – it’s amazing.”

The Wolf’s Den used to house shuffleboard, pool and foosball tables, but the bar had to get rid of them because there wasn’t enough space to accommodate a constant clientele.

“The food business has grown so big that we’ve removed everything and added rear seating and a salad bar,” Easley said.

The Wolf’s Den offers an assortment of burgers and sandwiches, as well as soups, salads and multiple fried items. The signature menu items at the bar, Raasch and Easley said, are the burgers. The Wolf’s Den typically consumes about 400 pounds of beef in a week, they said.

The bar and grill has 10-ounce, never-frozen burger patties that people rave about. Customers can also get double or triple burgers, which have grown in popularity in recent years. In 2021, a “triple burger challenge” took off at the bar, as dozens of regulars took on the 30-ounce burgers and continue to do so through 2022.

“It’s usually the young, skinny guys who are the most successful,” Easley said. “I couldn’t tell you why.”

The mother-daughter couple said they are still trying to staff the business with nine employees who help run the bar and grill, which operates from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Raasch said she was ready to hand over ordering, payroll and day-to-day management duties when the company changed hands nearly 13 years ago.

Easley, who has worked at the bar and grill since she was 14, has learned to handle most of those tasks over the years, she said.

The two Stanton women said they got along well running the business, which made the transition smooth.

While Raasch transferred ownership responsibilities to Easley more than 13 years ago, she remains heavily involved in day-to-day operations. She always cooks fresh soups, cooks breakfast and lunch, and helps out elsewhere as needed.

The building has expanded over the years to include more storage and refrigeration to complement the ever-growing food business.

The exterior of the bar and grill could get a facelift later this year as several Stanton businesses have received grants as part of a city redevelopment plan.

Raasch and Easley also credited longtime employee Karen Myrick with helping the business maintain its success and reputation for friendly service and good food.

Myrick has worked at The Wolf’s Den for 27 years and has helped Raasch and Easley navigate the challenges brought on by the 2019 floods and the pandemic since the start of 2020.

As for the future, Easley said she plans to run The Wolf’s Den in the future and serve a loyal clientele for years to come.

“It’s really great to be able to meet people, make friends and see people grow over the years,” she said. “There have been a lot of memories created here.”

Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement