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Photo by Rachelle Klemme. Ken and Joyce Price are back to being the owners of the Pine Cove Inn.

Prices back at Pine Cove

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The Pine Cove Inn is back under the ownership of its previous owners, Ken and Joyce Price, as of Jan. 1.

The Prices had originally bought the restaurant in 1978. Before owning the restaurant, they had worked there for a few years. Between working and ownership, Joyce has been at the Pine Cove for 41 years and Ken has been there 36 or 37 years.

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"I think I was a born waitress. I've waited tables since our son was little, and I still enjoy waiting tables," Joyce said.

The new hours at the Pine Cove are Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday is dollar burger night, Thursday is the taco bar and Friday and Saturday have the full menu and salad bar.

"During the week we're open for full dinners also if they want them," Joyce said.

They are also open for extra parties on other days, and said they will have the Easter and Mothers Day buffets. This past Tuesday's Valentines dinner attracted a good crowd.

The Prices said they have the Pine Cove Inn up for sale, but are planning to keep it open until they find a new owner.

Previously, Mike Willis had owned the Pine Cove for about a year and a half. The downstairs Mike's 71 Club is not open at the moment.

The Prices said Willis is a good cook and has taught them some things, too.

The restaurant is out on U.S. Highway 71 surrounded by evergreens with a large view through the windows.

"We've got a deer feeder out here," Ken said, recalling one spring evening a couple years ago. "We had 17 to 20 deer out here for two hours straight one evening. People just loved watching it."

Any stories about owning the restaurant?

"I've thought of writing a book over the years," Joyce joked.

"But we decided we would have to be deceased before we could publish it, for various reasons," Ken said.

The Pine Cove is one of Wadena's oldest restaurants.

Before 1950, the kitchen and corridor of the Pine Cove was the club house for the golf course.

Around 1950, the restaurant's owner Willie Nietzke opened the Pine Cove Inn Restaurant in that building and expanded the building over the years.

He added the dining room in 1962 and the lounge in 1967.

Ron Bender purchased the Pine Cove from Nietzke and owned it from 1975 to 1978.

The Prices then purchased the Pine Cove in 1978.

"We like meeting the people - that's why we've enjoyed it I think," Joyce said.

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