"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"
Steve Anderly has been part of the ownership of Hubert's, the nearest bar to the Dome, since the establishment opened its doors back in 1983. With the Gopher football program having concluded their Metrodome run before moving to TCF Bank Stadium, and the Twins closing out their last campaign of indoor ball before sliding down to Target Field, the good Mr. Anderly spent some time earlier this month to speak of the fates of his bar. To visit Part's 1 & 2 of this series of articles, please click here and here, respectively.
Judd Spicer: When you opened up in 1983, what was your objective and expectation?
Steve Anderly: Our original thoughts, with the Dome opening, we knew we'd have a good fan base with the local sporting public. When they first opened the stadium, there was grand talk of a lot of development on this area, but the land around me still has very few private land owners. So, the development they thought may come with the new stadium never really came. I've kind of been the lonely guy off on this end of downtown by myself. Which has been a double-edged sword.
J.S.: Over the years, what's you favorite Dome memory here at Hubert's?
S.A.: It would have to be the 1987 World Series. It was just a really magical moment. Of course there was the Super Bowl in '92, the '91 Series and before that the All-Star game in '85 - but in '87 everybody was just so pumped up.
J.S.: The Dome's schedule, post-baseball, looks a little barren at present aside from Viking football. Would you like to see the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) scheduling more events?
S.A.: Actually, the Prep Bowl season keeps us really, really busy with soccer and football games going all day and people coming from all over the state. As far as concerts go, there are very few acts that will play for stadium seating anymore. I mean, the acoustics across the street are for shit. It's just a big echo. But the MSFC does a good job scheduling some tractor pulls and stuff like that; then there's the golf show and some lawn and landscaping shows.
J.S.: As both the Twins and Gopher football were persuing new homes, did you have conflicting feeling as a Fan vs. Business Owner?
S.A.: As a business owner - sure I did. But as a fan I knew the Dome was built as a football stadium, and they happened to play baseball in it. But the Metrodome has served the public well. It's been one of the few multi-purpose stadiums in the country that has paid its way; made a profit. I knew baseball here wouldn't last forever. I mean, they've been pushing for a stadium for well over ten years, so, in the big picture I'm glad the Twins got a home of their own. I've had 26 great years. I think the enhanced revenue stream will enable them to put a very quality product on the field - which is so important to the fans and people in the Upper Midwest.
And as far as the Gophers go, I'm a firm believer that college football is meant to be played on campus. I think the Dome served the Gopher fan well, although it was kind of sterile and antiseptic for awhile. But they decorated it up pretty well in the latter years. So I'm happy they got their own stadium, too. It will create a whole new kind of energy for college football. When I was in school at the U, that's what we did every Saturday.
J.S.: What are some of your thoughts looking to next season? How will you adjust?
S.A.: Well, it's not going to be the wall-to-wall operation that we run now, serving 1,200 people for game nights. But we're going to do some promotions and see what happens. We're located right next to the light rail; a lot of people don't like to park in ramps. So we're going to offer some cheap parking in conjunction with the church, and we'll work a deal with a shuttle - get you down-and-back. Plus, we've got a lot of regular customers who've been coming here for years and we plan for them to keep coming.
We'll also be remodeling our back room and making things more "friendly" in the sense that now, we have to keep the place pretty uncluttered to get as many people in here as we can. And we've had to design our menu around high-volume, three-hour spans. Now we'll have the chance to re-tool our menu and offer some new choices for fans.
J.S.: What do baseball nights mean for your business?
S.A.: The Twins 82 home dates account for 30 to 35 percent of our gross revenue. The move will still find us viable, although it will affect the number of people I have working for a given shift. For a game night, I'll have eight waitresses, five cooks, and five bartenders. Next years will be unchartered waters -- but we'll see what we get and then staff appropriately. The fans will dictate where they spend their money. I've got a lot of friends who own places downtown by the new park, and they're all looking forward to it.
J.S.: Ever thought of following those friends down by Target Field?
We've had some people soliciting us to see if we have some interest in going into this or that footprint, but we're going to wait a least a year and see what happens down there. We think that's there's a lot of places down there, with some new ones going in. Who knows how the traffic pattern will work. Twins fans, as a whole, are very value conscious. It's a very diverse socio-economic fan base.