Talking with Kate Timmerman, Firehouse Grille Owner
Our August Chamber business spotlight is the Firehouse Grille, owned by Greg and Kate Timmerman. While Kate once inspired to be a nurse, she ended up finding her passion in the food industry. With extensive experience as a restaurant manager, general manager and kitchen manager, she gained the knowledge needed to run a successful bar and grill of her own. In January 2015, within nine months of working for the Firehouse Grille as its general manager, Kate and Greg had purchased the restaurant.
What does the Firehouse Grille offer its customers?
Now in its seventh year, Firehouse Grille is a full-service restaurant and bar with a scratch kitchen that provides generous portions and quality food. With televisions at every angle, and regular events such as live music, and Wine Flight Art Sessions, our customers find entertainment combined with daily specials and an extensive Americana menu.
Also, we have a call-in and pick-up service and catering. We offer off-site buffet-style catering for as few as ten people and as many as 250. Primarily, catering is done on-site where a room – or the entire restaurant – can be rented for an event. We’ve done weddings for 250 guests, baby and bridal showers, graduation and birthday parties, and fundraising events.
At the Firehouse Grille, we proudly honor firefighters and all first responders with booths dedicated to the police, military and EMS.
How has your business changed since taking it over?
We’ve made a concerted effort to be personally involved in the community. Businesses need to give back to make our area stronger. The Firehouse Grille donates to many fundraisers – such as the Chamber and area golf tournaments, New Market Muskies, Elko Speedway, Ladies Night, and the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
We also host school fundraising events, benefits for local people in need, and annual ceremonies.
What is the most valuable piece of business advice anyone has given you?
Don’t give up and stick it out for at least five years. Be hands-on. Be present at all times to see what’s going on and how you can improve operations.
What do you recommend to people who are first going into the food industry?
Have patience… at every level. Staff will likely include teens as well as older servers, bartenders and kitchen people. There will be a full spectrum of personalities, so you need to learn how to work with everyone – and your staff also needs to learn to deal with all types of customers.
Remember, those menu items that are popular in Minneapolis may not be what residents and business people are looking for. Change menu items until you know what works and what doesn’t.
Understand that every day is different and that sales will be up and down. What’s most important is that you never give up your dream. To repeat, give it five years.
How many locals does the Firehouse Grille employee?
We have 44 employees. The Firehouse Grille is the second largest employer in Elko New Market (top employer during Elko Speedway’s off-season).
What sets you apart from other businesses?
We focus on family values and treating others honestly, and our staff treats each person like they are family. When something isn’t working, we figure it out, not just sweep it under the rug. Employees want customers to enjoy their time in a relaxing atmosphere, so plan on sitting back and enjoying your meal. For people who need their meal fast, there’s the call-to-order option.
Check out the Firehouse Grille’s nightly specials.
Like them @FirehouseGrille.NewMarket