Queen City Club to closeAfter sitting on the market for more than two years, a historical hot spot will shut its doors June 30. Open since the early 1940s, the Queen City Club in east Dickinson will soon be transformed into a modern pizzeria and bar.
By: Lisa Call, The Dickinson Press
After sitting on the market for more than two years, a historical hot spot will shut its doors June 30. Open since the early 1940s, the Queen City Club in east Dickinson will soon be transformed into a modern pizzeria and bar.
The club’s owner, Jerry Johnson, said the business will remain open until the new owners take over July 1.
“I’ve met a lot of good people over the years,” said Johnson, club owner since 1996.
While Johnson will miss the people, he is ready for the next chapter in his life.
“One guy told me that he owned a bar and said the two happiest days of his life were the day he bought it and the day he sold it,” he said with a chuckle.
Employed in the oilfield for 36 years, Johnson plans to stay on that career path.
“I had some opportunities there (oil),” he said. “When I put it (the club) up for sale, I was hoping it would sell a little quicker than it did.”
Two young Dickinson entrepreneurs relieved Johnson of his business’s long-standing presence on the market. Jason Polanchek and Brian Zastoupil recently purchased the building and have plans to open a restaurant and bar.
Dubbed The Evil Olive Pizzeria and Bar, the men plan to target all niches, from families to college students. With its unique moniker, the duo used an unconventional method to reach a decision on the name.
“We couldn’t think of anything so what we did was mass text all our friends all across the world and sent out, ‘If you owned a bar what would you name it?’”
A Chicago-based friend of Polanchek’s responded and The Evil Olive was born. Coincidently, the name is unique in its own right.
“If you spell it backwards, it spells the same thing,” co-owner Brian Zastoupil said.
However, club employees are unsure what to think of the venture.
“It’s going to be like any other place,” club manager Bruce Steiner said of the switch. “It changes names and changes hands and people need to try it out.”
Several Dickinson entrepreneurs are assisting the men with building a menu which will include pizza, sandwiches, burgers, salads and a lunch buffet.
“We are actually going to build a brick oven for wood-fired pizzas and sandwiches,” Polanchek said.
Polanchek said Dickinson native Sara Cripe, Bismarck, is designing the logo and business cards.
The establishment will be smoke-free, with the exception of an indoor smoking lounge separate from the main building.
Fudd Gartner, a 25-year veteran bouncer at the Queen City Club, Fudd Gartner, a 25-year veteran bouncer at the Queen City Club, isn’t too happy it will be non-smoking and has mixed feeling about the changes.
“It’s kind of a tradition to sell your cows then come have a beer,” he said in regards to the club’s location near a stockyard.
Music, both live and karaoke will be a staple.
“We’ve been working with a lot of venues and promoters out of Minneapolis, Rapid City, San Francisco and Portland so we are trying to get live music every other weekend,” Polanchek said. “We want to do all music from country to punk to new age…whatever people want to hear.”
Polanchek also said they hope to keep the current karaoke service, but that has yet to be determined.
The establishment is slated to undergo a complete facelift, from flooring to staff. The club’s 10 employees will need to reapply, Zastoupil said.
“We are going to start from scratch,” Polanchek said. “We want to open again the beginning of September. We are totally going to gut it and redo everything.”
Activities for all ages are in the works, among them college nights, kid’s make-your-own-pizza night, cookouts and eating contests.
“We are working with somebody for a cab service either free or a little-to-nothing cab service to and from the bar,” Polanchek said.
The business hours will stay the same, but they plan to eventually be open seven days a week, Zastoupil said.
“We want to pertain to everyone in town, young or old,” Polanchek said. “We want to try and make something fun happen.”