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New bar owner puts all the pieces together to open 'Puzzles'

Matt Capecchi has just opened Puzzles Bar and Grille in Perham. It's named for a bar in "How I Met Your Mother," one of Capecchi's favorite TV shows. Marie Nitke/FOCUS

There's a new kid on the block - and he's brought a new business with him.

Matt Capecchi, age 22, has just moved to Perham to open Puzzles Bar and Grille, located at the back end of The Station House on Main Street.

The Cottage Grove, Minn., native said he's "always wanted to own a business, especially a bar."

So when he heard in late June that there was an opportunity to start one here, he jumped at the chance. Brew Pub and Wine Bar, which had been where Puzzles is now, is moving to a new spot downtown.

Capecchi, who loves to fish and hunt, had visited the area a few times before with his college roommate, Adam Paridon. It was Paridon who alerted him to the available space at The Station House.

Once he learned that he had secured a lease for the bar, Capecchi got down to business. He had one month to find a place to live in Perham and make his move; then he had one week to prep the bar before opening.

Despite the tight time frame, he said things have gone smoothly. He's repainted the interior walls, added a few flat screen TVs and lighted signage, gotten some new tables and added a cabinet behind the bar.

In the near future, he plans to hold weekly trivia contests and offer special deals on drinks and food. The bar menu is shared with The Station House. 

He may also break from The Station House's tradition of being closed on Mondays, once he gets more settled in and gets another person hired. The bar had a soft opening at the end of July, but Capecchi plans to have a grand opening in the near future.

"It's exciting," he said of opening a business of his own. "It's stressful and it's a lot of work and hours, but it's exciting."

Capecchi had never owned a business before, or even worked at a bar, but he said he spent time around the bar scene while at college, and he's already got the basics down.

In addition to that, he has a longstanding knowledge of wines and craft beers, thanks to his Italian family, especially his grandfather, who he said taught him a lot.

Puzzles will take part in a Customer Appreciation event the evening of Friday, Aug. 10. There will be a rib cook-out and door prizes will be given away.

For more information, visit the Facebook page for Puzzles.