The historic Hotel Winneshiek is about to unveil its new restaurant space.

The Hotel’s remodeling and rebranding project is expected to be completed in time for Luther College graduation weekend, May 24-25.

The new restaurant, under the direction of Chef Tom Skold, will be called “Restauration.”

“The name has a three-fold significance,” Skold said.

First, he said, it reflects Decorah’s Norwegian immigrant history by sharing a name with the sloop Restauration, often called the “Norwegian Mayflower,” which in 1825 carried several dozen Norwegians from Stavanger to North America.

Second, the name calls up references to the original concept of a restaurant.

“Restaurants were originally known as places of restoration,” Skold said. “If you were under the weather, you could go to these shops in Paris, and they would sell you a bowl of broth. They started making other things, and that eventually became the restaurant industry.”

Skold feels a restaurant should still fulfill that purpose, by being a place to be with other people, enjoy good food and have a good time.
“I want you to feel restored when you leave here,” he said.

Finally, the restaurant’s new name is a nod, via its pronunciation if not its spelling, to the gift Helen Basler made to the community when she spearheaded and funded a massive restoration project of the Hotel, completed in 2000.

“Helen has given us this beautifully restored hotel in which to do business,” he said. “So we’re also honoring everything that’s happened to this building.”

Skold plans to host a special grand opening celebration just for families with children, he said.

Until Restauration opens for business, full food and bar service is available in the Hotel’s lobby and in the Tap Room Lounge.

Upcoming concerts in the lobby include Lynne Rothrock with Tom Bourcier Tuesday, May 20 and The Mullet River Boys Thursday, May 29.