The new owners of a popular hangout in Baldwin are stepping into some very big shoes. Edie Mitchell, the previous long-time owner of Edie’s Log Bar, was a well-known character in town.
Employee Loretta Hamblin says Edie, who died in 2012, was “a real wildfire.”
“She’ll go down in flames for her funeral in Baldwin,” says Hamblin. “She carried herself out with a horse-driven casket and it was solid glass, and there she laid. Most awesome, I’ll never forget it. She had a horse-drawn carriage. She laid in a crystal clear coffin. She told Baldwin that when she went down, that she was going down in flames, and she did. She was a free bird, man.”
According to an article in the Lake County Star, the story is true … mostly.
“The word that I’m thinking of is a ‘spark plug,’ because she was,” says Lisa Van Loon.
Van Loon is sipping a beer at the bar with her brother, Jeff Yderstad. They used to come to Baldwin every summer as kids. To them, Edie was like family.
“You never had to guess what she was thinking,” says Lisa. “She was just upfront, just a go-getter. She didn’t give a crap. She put her mind to things and she got things done.”
“Probably one of the fondest moments that I remember being in here was after our grandfather passed away, we came here and had a beer or two with Edie,” says Jeff.
“There’s not many people in town that you ask and they don’t know Edie,” says Brandy Allen, the daytime cook.
After Edie died, the place shut down. Last year, Brandy’s family bought it and reopened. Now they’re tasked with trying to respect Edie’s history while also creating something new.
“We wanted to keep it original,” says Brandy. “You can see on the walls and even the windows still say ‘Edie’s Log Bar.’ We have one sign, little, in the window that actually has our name on it.”
The new name is “No Place Special Log Bar & Grill,” but you’d never know it because Edie’s name still shines in neon lights in the front window.
Brandy gets that it’s not easy reinventing an institution like Edie’s.
“Those are tough shoes to fill because they ate well while Edie was here,” she says. “We want to continue that tradition.”
Brandy added some of her own dishes to the menu – like deep-fried gizzards and a Friday nigh fish fry with ocean perch – but there are some items from Edie’s day that aren’t going anywhere.
“Her log-jam burger, we kept that one, and her Edie’s fries – bacon and cheese and ranch – we had to keep that,” says Brandy. “They all wanted her fries.”
They also kept a whole wall of Edie memorabilia, including some faded metal plaques engraved with the nicknames of her regulars, marking the places they used to sit.
“It was like Cheers, you had your spot,” says Brandy.
Jeff Yderstad had his own plaque back in the day, too, but it doesn’t seem to have survived the transition. This is Jeff and Lisa’s first time back here since Edie died and Brandy’s family took over.
“ It’s … different,” says Jeff.
“Not in a bad way,” says Lisa. “It’s kind of like a changing of the guard. More money’s coming here, more people are becoming involved in this small quaint community. That’s just awesome. As far as filling Edie’s shoes, there’s nobody that can do that.”