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Audrey's opens in former Sun Rise Chinese

Photo by Rachelle Klemme Audrey and Dan Hansen opened Audrey's Kitchen Family Restaurant on Sunday, Nov. 6.

Audrey's Kitchen Family Restaurant is the newest restaurant in Wadena, after opening in the former Sun Rise building on Sunday, Nov .6.

Area residents may recognize Audrey and Dan Hansen's lunch cart from a variety of fairs and events.

The restaurant's offerings, which Audrey Hansen described as homestyle food, include a Sunday all-day buffet and weekday lunch buffet. On Thursday, Nov. 24, there will be a special Thanksgiving broasted turkey buffet.

The menu available on weekdays includes choices from the Audrey's Kitchen lunch wagon, but also some new items. Customers can dine in or take out.

There are familiar foods like chicken and burgers, but also some more unusual offerings like vegetarian loaf and walleye fingers. Audrey said her favorite recipe is the fettuccine alfredo.

A sign on the outside advertises the restaurant's offering of "genuine Broaster chicken." People especially in the Midwest may have heard of "broasting" as one way of preparing chicken, and it is a trademark of the Broaster company based in Beloit, Wis. Broasted chicken, according to the Broaster website, is chicken prepared under high pressure in a Broaster Company-manufactured fryer or oven with the company's special seasonings, marinades, breadings, coatings and batters.

Audrey Hansen is originally from Brazil.

"I'm going to start to get some Brazilian recipes probably in a couple months," she said. "A lot of people are asking here in town to try some Brazilian recipes."

What about the cart? Audrey Hansen said they will see how the restaurant goes, and Dan might do some of the fairs next year.

Dan Hansen said there were more than 200 people on the restaurant's opening day.

Starting a sit-down restaurant had been the Hansens' goal for a while.

"My husband and I were looking for about four or five years," Audrey Hansen said, adding that they were looking out of town and out of state but ultimately wanted to stay in Wadena - which worked out for them. They talked to the previous owner after Sun Rise closed earlier this year and worked on getting the restaurant ready in time for deer opener weekend.

"It was a dream that we had," Audrey Hansen said. "My husband's a chef, and I'm a cook."

Born and raised in Wadena, Dan Hansen had a lunch wagon when he was 18, but sold it after his father's illness. Later on, when Audrey and Dan got married, they started a lunch wagon again.

"I wanted to see how fun it is," Audrey Hansen said. "Then I decided that I wanted to do something more close to home so we can stay home more often."

She said that since she was 9 years old, she liked cook books, wrote recipes and watched food channels on Brazilian TV. She still tries different recipes at home.

Hours are Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. They are closed on Saturdays.

Audrey's Kitchen Family Restaurant can be contacted at (218) 632-7075.