When the Fieldbrook Family Market closed on Feb. 1 of this year, the locals were pretty upset. They hadn’t just lost a store, they had lost a community gathering place.
The market had a dining/hangout area, a beer garden, and live music nights that were all popular. Now new owner Chuck Chojnacki and manager Scotty Appleford look to bring all that back, and more.
Escrow on the market closed in March, and Chojnacki and Appleford got the keys in early June. Appleford has been working pretty much non-stop since then, clearing the canvas to make way for his new vision.
“I’m loving every minute of it,” he said. “Every day something pops up that makes me think, ‘This is gonna be great’.”
Eight yards of old stuff has been hauled away and will soon be replaced with brand new stuff: new restaurant equipment, countertops, barbecue pits, smokers, sinks, bathrooms, wiring, plumbing, septic system, and parts of the walls. So, pretty much everything. Some historical items such as old pictures will be kept for display. “It’s quite the undertaking,” says Appleford.
Appleford already runs his own popular online business, Renegade Bacon Company, purveyor of such fine delicacies as Coffee Toffee Bacon Skewers, Cajun & Toffee Bacon Skewers, and Chocolate Peanut Bacon Skewers. He also won the inaugural Best in Show award in the amateur division at last October’s Bacon Fest at the Blue Lake Casino, so he knows what he’s doing. “There’s just something about that salty-sweet flavor,” says Appleford of his creations. He also smokes his own sausage, brisquett, pork, and pretty much everything else that tastes good smoked. “There’s going to be a lot of meat between bread,” says Appleford of the market’s new menu. Besides sandwiches, there will be hamburgers, hot dogs, and other deli food and pub fare.
For those seeking a vegetable alternative, don’t despair. Appleford’s wife is a vegetarian, so there will be plenty of grilled portabella burgers, smoked tofu sandwiches, and grilled tofu sausage on hand. Appleford also says he’s open to trying recipes that the locals bring in. The bottom line is, the food is pretty much guaranteed to be amazing. There will also be beer on tap.
Chojnacki and Appleford are planning on bringing back some of the more popular things the previous owners had going, including the live music on Fridays and a dining area for locals to hang out over coffee. He also plans some new touches of his own, like a new and improved patio area for barbecues, flat-screen TVs for NFL Sundays, and a weekly produce exchange out front. There are also plans for a 3,000 square-foot greenhouse and herb garden out back. Appleford says that, as much as possible, the market will sell and use local produce and products.
In all, Appleford sees the market being more than just a grocery store. He sees it as an extension of the community. “We’re looking forward to providing them with what they need and want,” he said. And the locals are already getting excited. “We’ve had a huge response already.”
Chojnacki and Appleford are hoping for an opening event/party by early September. You can follow along with all the progress on the Fieldbrook Family Market Facebook page.
Renegade Bacon Company can also be found on Facebook.