Overwhelmed and astonished is how Cornerstone Grill owner Dan Pittner feels after nearly two months of operating his new business on the square in downtown Minden, Nebraska. Pittner and his wife, Jennifer, purchased Mookies Restaurant from Alec Geist in December. It reopened for business on January 2, and things have taken off for the Minden natives.
Cornerstone Grill is currently open for lunch and supper Monday through Thursday. The grill is open from 11 am to 9 pm. Friday and Saturday, closing time is extended to 10 pm. The Pittner’s goal with Cornerstone is to have a “customer-friendly” restaurant. The owners want to use community input, and have the flexibility to adapt with local events.
Dan says, “If people have ideas or things they want us to try, I’m open to any and all suggestions.”
He is no stranger to the restaurant business. His father, William Pittner, owned and operated Willie’s Tavern on the square in Minden for 19 years, closing in 1985. The Pittners also have owned Hiway Liquor for the past 10 years. They heard a frequent question: What about a sit-down place for lunch, other than the fast food establishments Minden currently has?
When Mookies went up for sale, Pittner got excited about the opportunity to open what he has heard for years — a family friendly eating establishment for all ages. REAP loan specialist Dena Beck, also a Minden resident, worked with the Pittners. Dena negotiated a partnership between REAP and a local bank to help finance the new venture.
Cornerstone Grill has daily specials available on their Facebook page. The menu also features sandwiches, salads, different kinds of hamburgers, and a kids menu. Thursdays have been a huge success with Bert’s Mexican taking center stage along with orders off the menu. Fridays are “Redneck Night” and feature wings, gizzards, bull fries and livers.
A new feature has been added to the normal menu on Saturdays - hand cut steaks. Cornerstone also has started serving prime rib the first and third Saturday of each month. Cornerstone also has a limited bar. It offers premium beverages.
The Pittners are lifelong residents of Minden. Dan worked over 20 years with the Kearney County Sheriff’s Department. He was on the Minden Volunteer Fire Department for 15 years. For the last 10 years, he has owned and operated Hiway Liquor.
Jennifer works in the Kearney County Assessor’s office. Dan and Jennifer also have daughters Taylor and Bailey worked into the fold. Both have waitressed since the opening of the restaurant.
And Dena? She has high hopes for this venture and for the delicious food at Cornerstone Grill!
Story and photo by Jim Edgecombe, Minden Courier, themindencourier.com, with our thanks.
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