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Skal to open in Vergas next month

Skål: A Scandinavian toast of friendship and goodwill which may be offered when drinking, sitting down to eat or at a formal event.

For Josh Hanson and Anthony Soland, Skål is simply a tribute to their grandfather, who each night would call out "Skål" and put back a shot.

The two brothers are opening Skål in Vergas Feb. 1, which will serve specialty sandwiches and burgers, coupled with a variety of beers.

They purchased the building -- the former Al's Stop and Shop -- last June. Two months later, when Hanson's other business, Spanky's Stone Hearth, closed due to a fire, they found more time to spend on Skål.

"We thought Vergas would benefit as a community having another restaurant," Hanson said.

And since Vergas is a destination town, Skål just gives visitors another reason to come, he added.

Skål translates to "cheers" in Swedish.

"We'll be the Cheers bar of Vergas," Hanson laughed, referencing the TV show.

The fully remodeled restaurant features stamped concrete floors, granite top bar, seating for 60 patrons and a remembrance of old Vergas. The walls showcase 12-foot pictures of a 1928 street scene of downtown Vergas and a picture of the 1952 baseball team.

There will be a variety of tap beers, domestic and microbrews, specialty margaritas and a full bar. On the menu, there will be homemade onion rings and battered mushrooms and many specialty sauces for the sandwiches.

"All made with the freshest local ingredients available," Hanson said.

He added that the specialty sandwiches are "influences from traveling around the U.S." and sampling other restaurants.

And while Spanky's was known for the more upscale dining experience, Skål will have the same quality but "more casual with different options," Soland said. Soland will serve as general manager of Skål.

This summer, with both restaurants up and running, the brothers will be quite busy, but it was a plan they've had for a while.

"Its just another venture," Hanson said.

"It won't take anything away from Spanky's," Soland added.

"It's another reason to come to Vergas," Hanson said.

Hanson said he'd like to thank family and friends who helped them get Skål up and running so quickly, including Ken Lyden Construction out of Pelican Rapids, Soland added.

The remodel started Oct. 1, and "it's pretty impressive to be ready Feb. 1."

Skål will be open daily from 11 a.m. to close. To reach the restaurant, call 342-7525.

Skål, to you.