August 7, 2015 by Jill Christensen
“A body in motion stays in motion,” so says Betty Muhr-Bendfeldt, owner and operator of the new On the Greene & Gifts located at the former Greenbrier. Bendfeldt, an Exira native whose spent the past several years as the owner of 18 different Window World locations, said that her desire to “never stop” was the inspiration for her new venture.
“I feel like I’m on my third life,” she stated. “I’ve survived cancer twice, I can’t quit. I always need to be busy. After selling our Window World business, I decided this was something I wanted to do and I am so excited to be able to offer something like this to the area.”
On the Greene and Gifts offers patrons an experience unlike any other bar or restaurant in the area.
“We offer something for everyone,” Bendfeldt said. “We’re open seven days a week with dining, gaming, live music, specialty wines and liquor and more.”
On the lower level you’ll find a full service bar, games including; pool, snooker, foosball, shuffleboard and video machines, as well as entertainment on the patio like bocce ball, bags, and ladder ball. They are open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily serving from their full menu and light night snacking like nachos, hot dogs, pizza and more is available.
The upper level offers a fine dining experience perfect for an intimate evening out or for a private party, wedding reception, class reunion or other special event. A large, horse-shoe shaped bar with seating for up to 20 is featured on the south wall, flanked by hi-top tables and three different “themed areas” available to small groups. The theme areas feature private seating on couches and occasional chairs and a fireplace. Each area is complete with specialty décor and lighting showcasing western, bootlegger and Chantilly chic themes.
“The old west area has leather sofas, a cowhide rug, various antiques and a chandelier made of antlers,” Bendfeldt noted. “The Chantilly chic area is black and white with fuchsia accents. Lots of feathers, flowers and crystals. The bootlegger area features original framed newspaper clippings from when Al Capone was arrested, along with whiskey barrels and other prohibition era memorabilia.”
Bendfeldt says the themed areas may be rented out for small parties, card clubs and the like.
Upper level dining opens at 5 p.m. nightly with an extensive menu featuring black angus steaks, seafood, sandwiches, specialty salads, pasta and more. All menu items available in the upper level can be ordered in the downstairs gaming area, as well. Additionally, On the Greene and Gifts features a one of a kind pizza oven where you can custom create your own pie or order their famous Hawkeye, Cyclone or Husker pizzas.
“We will even serve a Sunday brunch,” Bendfeldt added. “Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays and our brunch menu features omelets, eggs Benedict or eggs Bendfeldt as we like to call them, waffles, French toast, pancakes and more. We’re excited about brunch, as its something that isn’t offered locally and we’re looking to fill a void in dining selection in the area.”
A popular feature at On the Greene and Gifts is the large, all season deck. Patrons can enjoy a drink or dine enjoying the great outdoors. The deck will be open well into the fall and re-open early in the spring, as it boasts 15 large patio heaters to beat the elements. Live music and games are a regular mainstay on the deck and Benefeldt says she’s excited about the special outdoor events she has booked.
“We have so many great events coming. I have live music, DJ’s and other parties booked into 2016 and I can’t wait for people to see what we have planned,” Bendfeldt exclaimed.
Her gift shop will also be a hit with customers, as specialty wines, wine themed gifts, gift baskets and more. Some unique items include stuffed balloons and Juggs Liqueur, a spirit made from locally grown corn infused with fruit flavors, which was created by Bendfeldt’s husband, Mike, and distilled in Norwalk.
A grand opening event at On the Greene and Gifts is set for Saturday, Aug. 15. The venue is currently open to customers, offering a limited menu, as the staff fine tunes the details and continues to train. Bendfeldt said that there are still a variety of positions available, should anyone be interested in joining the team at On the Greene, interviews are available on site. A poker run is also set for Saturday, Aug. 22.
“Please come out and see us, we look forward to meeting and getting reacquainted with everyone and can’t wait to show you On the Greene and Gifts,” Bendfeldt said.