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Scooters, steak available soon in downtown

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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A juicy steak and a scooter might not usually have too much in common, but soon, both will be available within a block of one another in downtown Lincoln. The two new businesses will open within a week of one another: Grunge Scooter and Skate (661 McBean Park Drive) this past Tuesday and Beermann’s (645 5th St.) on Monday. Al Cass, a Lincoln resident, owns Grunge Scooter and Skate, his first business. The store features scooters, long boards, safety gear such as helmets and protective pads, according to Cass, and eventually clothing and skateboards. Parts for scooters and skateboard will also be available. Cass, who has three sons, said he became interested in scooters and skateboards after “taking them (his kids) to skate parks.” One of the biggest reasons Cass gave for opening the store was to provide activities for Lincoln’s youth. “I just wanted to bring something to the city for the kids,” Cass said. “It’s something different for the city. There’s nothing like that around Lincoln except Epic Skate Park.” Cass said his store would be “something positive” for Lincoln’s youth “in light of budget cuts” to the city’s parks and recreation department. Clothing will be another item offered at Grunge Scooter and Skate, starting with the company T-shirt, according to Cass. The goal is to sell clothes “that you could probably find in the mall,” Cass said, but not in other Lincoln stores. He’d also like to eventually sponsor local sports teams, skate competitors and donate raffle prizes to different organizations. “I just did it to get involved in the community,” Cass said. “I’m here to do something fun and involve my kids.” Over on 5th Street, Beermann’s has hired “about 80” employees, according to co-owner John Drust. Drust will co-own the restaurant with his parents, Mike and Kelly Drust, according to previous News Messenger reports. The restaurant’s menu is available at both the Beermann’s website and outside the restaurant. The lunch menu includes pizza, sandwiches, salad, burgers and fish. The dinner menu features steak, chicken, fish and seafood. The restaurant will serve beer brewed on site by Knee Deep Brewing Company, according to John Drust. Bread served by the restaurant will be provided by Four Rivers Baking Company, and desserts will be from Shelley’s Sweet Sensations, according to Shelley Thrall, Shelly’s Sweet Sensations owner. Customers will be served on the first floor of the restaurant during the first couple of weeks, according to John Drust, “until the crew gets trained.” “Our big thing is customer service. We want to make sure everyone is working in sync,” John Drust said. “The first few weeks of a restaurant are always pretty iffy as far as food going out and servers working together.” Beermann’s will also look different to those who visited the original restaurant before it closed six years ago. “We did some renovations and it looks a lot different as far as seating goes,” John Drust said. “The downstairs has completely been changed over and we’ve put up our own d?cor and did some painting.” When asked why his family chose to open their restaurant in Lincoln, John Drust said he “likes the town and they needed a new steak restaurant.” “They needed this place to be open. It’s a beautiful building and part of the town’s history,” John Drust said. “We were looking to open a restaurant and were looking at trying to make Beermann’s work for five years. It’s all about timing and it was the right time for the economy.” One obvious change in downtown is the remodel of the McDonald’s at the corner of Highway 65 and 3rd Street. Rosanna Ruiz, who co-owns the restaurant with husband, Mark Ruiz, said the McDonald’s was built in 1994. “The McDonald’s corporation is remodeling a lot of their older stores, and with their help, we were able to do this,” Ruiz said. “It’s just to give it an update and a new look.” The city helped the Ruizs come up with the new look. “They have a plan for the downtown historic district where any remodels or new buildings need to be designed like the turn of the century,” Ruiz said. “With their help and with the McDonald’s architects, we were able to come up with this design.” The exterior and interior remodel has been in the works for a year, Ruiz said. “We redid the dining room and we also moved our front counter up a little bit to give employees some room to work with the new equipment,” Ruiz said. “We’re hoping that everyone enjoys it and comes and enjoys the new dining room.” Ruiz said historic photos of Lincoln are now featured in the dining room. “I want to thank our customers. They’ve been really nice,” Ruiz said. “They’ve been very patient and also enjoyed seeing the process of getting the transformation.”