Mauer Brothers Tavern and Grill has been through 5 generations of Mauers

Feb. 4—ELBA, Minn. — The Mauer Brother's Tavern and Grill has been in the Mauer family for five generations and nearly 134 years.

The Mauer Brother's Tavern and Grill is now co-owned by its fifth generation of Mauers and its first brother-sister duo. April Mauer hadn't planned on taking over the family business. She went to college in Mankato to be a health inspector when she found out her cousin could no longer buy her dad out.

"Paul was supposed to take over Dad's spot, but he just physically couldn't do it, standing here standing on his feet for 12 hours straight," she said. "So I called Mom, 'Well if you want me to move back, just let me know.' And Mom calls and says 'Robert needs you to move back.'"

So she moved back to co-own the place with her brother. April had been in the tavern since she could walk. She practically grew up in the bar. The day she turned 18, she was bartending there.

April and Robert's great-great-grandfather bought the building from another family in 1890. The original building burned down in 1896 and a new one was constructed.

"The interesting thing that I thought was because they didn't have electric lights, these are all gas lights (in the original building)," said Robert. "So, I'm assuming that's how the original building burnt down. They were using gas to keep the lights lit."

The building was rebuilt, but it has moved locations since because the building was rebuilt before Highway 74 went through town.

"The building was actually on where the boulevard is," said April. "So they dug up the basement, made the basement here and then they put the building on little roller things. And like every day, they would move it like an inch until it was on this spot, so that's pretty cool."

The building has also been renovated a couple of times. It was previously smaller and had living quarters where the Mauer family stayed.

"One side was all living quarters and then there was a motel upstairs," said April. "My grandpa was raised in the living quarters and then in the mid-60s, they opened it all up and put this bar in and made it a whole bar. Then Grandpa moved over to the house next door, which is where my brother lives now."

The whole family has a history in the building and it's displayed throughout the restaurant. Old photos from the town and their family are displayed within the building as well as some papers about the history.

Customers have also left their mark on the bar and grill. The walls are filled with mounted deer, fish and other game from hunters and fishermen who like to stop by year after year with photos or taxidermied animals.

Hunters, fishers and campers make up a large portion of the restaurant's demographic. The trout season opener is one of their busiest times of the year, along with deer opener in November. Turkey hunting also brings in a large amount of customers.

"We get a lot of turkey hunters in the spring from all over the country," April said. "It's really cool, especially the turkey season because there's this grand slam to get all the different types of turkeys in the country. So there's like four or five different turkeys in the country. And so every turkey season, we get people from Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas. They want to win the grand slam."

Camping and snowmobiling bring in a lot of customers, too. Their regulars are people they've had coming in who have been around for decades.

"We got a good day crowd during the weekdays, the retirement guys," April said. "Some of them live close by, so they'll come, they'll leave and then they'll come back again. They'll say, 'I can't come back if I don't leave.' So they'll leave and then they'll come back for happy hour."

These regulars are like family to the Mauers, but they aren't the only customers during the slower, winter months. Mauer Brother's Tavern and Grill is also a popular bar-hopping spot for the locals going from small town to small town. The burgers are popular among locals and regulars and they try to keep the drink prices lower.

"Good food, good drinks and good people," said Robert.