Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Rebekah Lund
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Cromwell looks forward to new restaurant


September 13, 2018

Rebekah Lund

Derek Nyberg and Brandon Eilers are the proud new owners of the restaurant in Cromwell, now called Thom Finn's: The Eating House.

A new restaurant, Thom Finn's: The Eating House, is coming to Cromwell. Derek Nyberg and Brandon Eilers, residents of the town, launched their vision at Cromwell's Harvest Fest last weekend. The launch event was part of the town's stand-still parade, where visitors could walk and see "floats" rather than the floats moving down the highway. The new restaurant owners sold burgers, apple and blueberry crisp, and coffee and cider, and debuted their vision with a large concept photo, vision board and farmer's market-styled decor. There was also music from Rob and Jill, a couple from Hibbing to help set the vibe.

"We want to create a destination," Nyberg said. "The town is too small for anything less." An early concept photo of the new restaurant, set to break ground next spring, shows a modern, railroad station-like building with a large outdoor patio. "We wanted to pay homage to the original early 1900s train depot that used to be here in our design," Eilers said.

The restaurant will be located where the town's longtime restaurant, The Country Inn, still stands. They plan to have the fire department burn the old building some time in October as a training exercise for the department and to provide a fresh start for them to begin their new building plan.

The restaurant's name also pays respect to the town's first recorded European settler, Thomas Finn (or Finch), according to Bennett Beck, the author of A Brief History of Cromwell. "The name evokes many different connotations, from Huck Finn to the local Finns in the area," Nyberg said. "We want this to be a place that locals connect to and visit frequently."

Rebekah Lund

Cromwell residents and Harvest Fest attendees learn about the new restaurant planned for their town.

The new owners of the restaurant plan to create a multi-purpose space which will include a restaurant, coffee shop, bakery, mercantile, meat market and gathering space. The residents of Cromwell voted on a liquor license last fall, and it was approved; the city is reviewing the final application now. The restaurant will also offer local craft beers and wines, possibly serving Bent Paddle and Moose Lake brews. "We want to offer local food from farms and producers in the area as much as possible, as this is how food is meant to be," Nyberg said. Already slated to be served on their menu are burgers made with beef from Brad Koivisto's farm four miles south of town. "We want to be hardcore local," Nyberg said.

Eilers will serve as the head chef, utilizing his food stylist and chef background. "I've styled food for the likes of Paula Deen and Andrew Zimmern," he said. He has also worked in multiple food service roles, so his skill set will be key to the new restaurant's success. Nyberg is the creative visionary in the project. The pair has definitely created a worthwhile, detailed plan, and people are excited.

While the final project is far from done, it will be interesting to see how this local project progresses. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting endeavor!


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