He built it and they have come to Bayport: Jeff and Michelle Hause’s idea to remodel restaurant space pays off

BAYPORT — Maybe the coin contractor Jeff Hause found while renovating a century-old building here earlier this year really was lucky.

“I actually found an 1899 Indian-head penny above one of the windows on the second floor,” he said.

Hause not only moved his business to the second floor of that building in Bayport where he found the penny, he and his wife, Michelle, opened a restaurant and bar on the first floor. It seemed like a good idea since the bar was already there.

Hefty’s Roadhouse has been open since spring and the Hauses say business could not be better.

“It’s been going pretty good. We’ve got a good location,” Jeff Hause said.

Hefty’s location at 193 Third St. in Bayport has several advantages, according to Jeff Hause. It’s across Minnesota Highway 95 from the Holiday station in a building Hause owns and has plenty of customer parking.

“Parking in Bayport is easier (than in downtown Stillwater),” he said.

Jeff Hause said parking issues and leasing space for his construction company office in Stillwater convinced him to buy and renovate his current building in Bayport.

The construction company office fit on the second floor. But it left an empty space on the first floor that in the past housed restaurants and a bar, according to Jeff Hause. His interest in the restaurant business led to the decision to open Hefty’s.

“I always wanted to give it a whirl. We thought we’d give it a shot,” he said.

“I know he’s always wanted to (open a restaurant),” added Michelle Hause. “The opportunity came up and it came with the bar. It was probably the right time.”

And Jeff Hause, with his construction experience on residential renovations and additions, was the man to bring the old building back to life, which made Bayport city officials happy.

“They loved it. They loved it because we put in a major-league improvement,” he said. “We gutted the whole thing. The building was built in 1892. It’s been totally restored.”

Hefty’s customers also like what the Hauses have done with the building and the menu.

“”We’ve really had good reviews on the food. People like the décor, they like the atmosphere,” Jeff Hause said. “I have heard people mention that they don’t have to fight for a parking spot.”

Other features that Hefty’s customers like are the two outdoor dining areas and the restaurant’s Tuesday night beanbag league.

Hefty’s customers will also like the Hefty’s grand-opening celebration Saturday. Jeff Hause said  after an 11 a.m. ribbon cutting, there will be food specials, games, Twins, Vikings and Wild ticket give-aways and live music from 6 to 9 p.m.

Jeff Hause also expects more restaurant business after the state Department of Transportation closes the Lift Bridge Monday for three months of maintenance work.

“I think it’s going to be a big spike in our business,” he said.

And Hauses believe people who visit Hefty’s once will return.

“I think people will really like the place if they come down and check it out,” Jeff Hause said.

“I think it’s a nice place with a nice clientele,” Michelle Hause added.