Elks Lodge buys former Cyber Cafe building

A remodel should begin in early 2022

The former Cyber Cafe is soon to transformed into the Wadena Elks Lodge. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

Wadena has seen its fair share of business transitions in recent years. One major change included the sale of the Elks Lodge to El Mariachi back in June 2021.

While the Mexican restaurant continues to race to the finish and open their doors, the Elks are moving to embrace a new space in downtown Wadena, in the former Cyber Cafe, 210 Jefferson Street S. More recently that space was home of All Around Divas Boutique before they made the move down the street to their new location at 204 Jefferson Street.

Going from the 8,000 square foot lodge, which included a bar and dance hall, to the considerably smaller historic space downtown is a drastic change, but such a change was needed with the changing dynamics in social gathering spots.

The Elks want to continue to be a social place for folks to meet which is why a bar and kitchen will make its way into the space along with seating for around 45. Elks board member Dan Sartell said the work of seeing the remodel of the space through to completion is largely on his plate and he’s pleased to see it moving ahead albeit some steps in the process will take time.


Recently home of All Around Divas, and the Cyber Cafe, this space is now home of the Wadena Elks Lodge on Jefferson Street in Wadena. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

The 53-year-old club closed on the new location about a month ago and they have worked with a design firm to create a plan that keeps much of the space looking about the same. For those who’ve ventured into the space recently, its exposed brick walls and high tin ceiling make for a unique space among the more modern looking interior designs downtown. That look will remain along with the addition of a bar and small kitchen.

“It’s not going to be a full fledged kitchen,” Sartell said. At least not to the extent of their previous location.

So far, demolition work has begun but the remodel work must wait until inspections are complete. Sartell said a Department of Health inspection approval will likely take at least 30 days, and remodeling another 45-60 days putting an opening towards the end of winter 2022. They plan to order equipment soon as they fear the biggest holdup may be delivery of the equipment they need.

While the space will be different — no more large banquets, weddings and dances — fundraising for community good, including students and veterans, is still at the heart of the club and they plan to find ways to continue to serve the area.

“We have to come up with a new scope of what we can do and where we can do it,” Sartell said. “The mission is still a community organization trying to do fundraisers.”

Bingo, raffles and charitable gambling will remain a part of the future. Food and drinks will help provide some more revenue and an extra offering in Wadena blossoming downtown.

Look for more information to come as this project progresses.


The plans for the new Elks space includes a bar, kitchen, seating and even a spot for billiards. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

The Wadena Elks is a charitable organization of 260-plus local members. Since it’s beginning, the Wadena Lodge has given $2.5 million back to the communities it serves. The lodge sponsors many fundraisers each year and also gives back through the efforts of charitable gambling. They celebrated 50 years in 2018.

The Elks currently meet at the Wadena VFW meeting room on the second and fourth Thursday of the month. Contact Linda Youngbauer or Deb Marquette for more information on getting involved or check out their Facebook page .

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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