The new Grand Stand more than an ice cream shop
Mitchell A. Skurzewski
When it was announced that Briq’s Soft Serve wouldn’t be re-opening it’s Merrill location this spring, Shelby Dzwonkowski viewed it as an opportunity.
She viewed the spot as an opportunity to provide something for the west side of Merrill. She also viewed it as a chance to to create more than just an ice cream shop at the former Briq’s Location. Dzwonkowski opened The Grand Stand Eats & Treats, 501 Grand Ave. on May 17.
“The community support has been amazing. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback,” Dzwonkowski said. “We wanted to do something with food and it’s a good fit being close to the Council Grounds and the MARC (Merrill Area Recreational Complex).”
The Grand Stand features the soft serve ice cream treats with the concession stand outdoor seating, but now Dzwonkowski has added snack foods, salads, hot ham & cheese sandwiches, chicken strips and more to the culinary options. Besides cheese curds, snack foods include: onion rings, french fries, nachos and jalapeno poppers. There is also Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream from Madison and dairy free ice cream options that change regularly.
“We are big advocates for local products and everything we sell is made in Wisconsin,” Dzwonkowski said.
Dwonkowski is also a big advocate for business in downtown Merrill. She also owns Studio 808 and co-owns Cosmo Theatre in downtown Merrill. So the thought of a space like the former Briq’s sitting empty, was a no-go for Dzwonkowski.
“People are familiar with stopping here during walks on the River Bend Trail or after a game,” she said. “This is a great location and we just hated the idea of this spot sitting empty.”
A reason for the Briq’s closing was lack of help, but Dzwonkowski says she anticipates no issues. She said her son’s friends have messaged her about working at The Grand Stand and she expects to add more full-time staff.
In addition to snack items such as cheese curds from Ed & Sharon’s, The Grandstand also offers walking tacos, wraps and toasted subs. She wants to add menu options in the future, along with an online menu for lunch pick-ups and to-go options.
“With the lack of food options on this side of town, we felt we wanted to create a place for people to go for lunch, ice cream or a snack,” she said. “We still have the great soft serve treats and we tried to stick with things customers love, but also create some new options for people.”
The Grand Stand Eat & Treats is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.