Retirement didn’t sit well with Lodi resident Dale Dolson so when opportunity knocked, he opened the door, literally, to the new Dale’s Place in downtown Lodi.
The popular eatery has been gaining fans since opening in September, with its gourmet burgers, meatloaf specials and killer Bloody Marys.
Dolson, a well-known local entrepreneur who’s owned several businesses in the area, says it was his vision to bring good quality food to people in a relaxed, casual setting, and that’s what he’s done.
“This is one place where it’s acceptable to bring in a two-year-old or an 85-year-old, it’s a place for everyone,” Dolson says.
Burgers highlight the menu, made fresh with meat from Lodi Sausage Company and Meat Market. Aside from the popular cheeseburger, hungry diners can try out the mac burger, stacked high with bacon, barbecue sauce and a heaping scoop of macaroni and cheese.
Dale’s Place offers daily specials. Monday, with scalloped potatoes and ham with green beans, and Wednesday, with meatloaf, corn and mashed potatoes, are popular options that offer a lot of food, for not a lot of money, just $7.
Rest-aurant manager Kate Burdey says crowds come in at the end of the work week craving the Friday fish fry, haddock, either deep-fried or broiled.
“It’s good quality fish and it’s delicious, and what really sets it apart from other restaurants is our homemade tartar sauce and coleslaw,” Burdey says.
Rounding out the menu are appetizers of cheese curds, mozzarella sticks and deep-fried green beans. The bar drink menu includes microbrewery favorites like Spotted Cow, Warped Speed and selections from Port Huron Brewery, run by Lodi native Tanner Brethorst.
Also in abundance, but not on the menu, is an emphasis on pleasing its patrons.
“Dale’s Place is 100 percent about customer service, that’s something that we emphasize to our wait staff, our bartenders and our cooks,” Burdey says. “We can meet any customer’s request, whether they want to substitute, take something off a sandwich or even a split check, whatever they want, that’s fine.”
The restaurant serves food until 10 p.m. to catch diners looking for a good meal after an evening Lodi sporting or community event.
Burdey, who came to the job after 25 years in the teaching field, says teaming up with Dolson has been a great experience. A mutual friend, Barb Cook, who used to bartend for Dolson urged him to start the restaurant, and suggested Burdey could manage it.
Burdey said it’s been a huge career shift but she is really enjoying the experience, working under the mentorship of Dolson, who previously owned Fisk Tavern in Lodi.
“He is such a huge part of this place because he is such a longtime community member and knows so many people and likes to talk to customers, friends and family,” Burdey says. “Almost everyone comes in and says ‘Hi, Dale’ and he goes and talks with them.”
Dolson says running a restaurant is a great job, and more fun than retirement.
“I get to do something different every day, one day it’s going to Sysco to pick up food, the next day it’s to the bank. I basically do whatever she tells me to do,” Dolson says with a laugh as he nods to Burdey.
Dale’s Place is located at 111 S. Main St., Lodi, Wis. Phone (608) 592-2777. The business is also on Facebook.