Almena accountant Pam Dowd kept the books for Doug Peterson, former owner of Coach Bar & Grill, Poskin, for 20 years.
But the place had been on the market for quite some time before Pam got in touch with her son, Nick, in spring of 2017.
At the time, Nick, a 2006 Barron High School graduate, was living in Ramsey, Minn., and was working for the Federal Premium Ammunition plant in Anoka, Minn.
But his work hours had been reduced, and he was looking to make a change in his work environment. That’s when his mom suggested he buy Coach Bar from Peterson.
By late summer, the deal was completed and Nick, who had no previous experience in the business, was learning it from the ground up.
“It’s been on-the-job training for me,” Nick said.
“He worked for Doug two weeks,” Pam remembered. “Then, Doug watched him work two more weeks.”
Nick was busy behind the bar one day last week. He cleaned beer glasses, talked with his mother (who is also helping out around the place), chatted with a salesman from a wholesale food supplier who happened to drop by, and watched as another vendor dropped off a new electronic juke box, which can be activated by any customer with a smart phone and the right “app.”
He said that since he took over the business full time, he’s been settling into a routine.
Nick and his girlfriend Zandra Sulla (pronounced SOUL-yah) will live right behind the bar and restaurant.
After they met, Nick gave Zandra a new nickname: “Spike.”
Which is how the place got its new name.
A naturalized U.S. citizen from the Philippines, Zandra is an experienced certified nursing assistant who has (at least temporarily) set aside her career to work at the bar and grill.
Nick said Zandra’s most recent job was in Fridley, Minn., where she worked with elderly nursing home residents in memory care, or who were recovering from surgery. Nick said that Zandra may re-enter the CNA field later on.
For now, she will help with the cooking, and her knowledge of Filipino cuisine is already apparent.
“We aren’t taking anything away from the old menu, but we’re adding things like made-from-scratch fried rice and egg rolls,” Nick said.
“We will still have a Friday fish fry,” he added. “We converted the (Wednesday night) chicken wings back to an all-you-can-eat format, and we’re looking at an all-you-can eat taco night.”
Spike’s is open from 11 a.m. to closing Tuesday through Sunday.