Amnicon Lake Business Opens Under New Ownership

The backyard on Lake Amnicon, formerly known as Amnicon Acres, reopened under new owners, Chase and Amanda Nordby, on January 5.

It was a whirlwind of several weeks for the St. Croix Falls couple, who bought the business on New Years Eve and immediately moved their family to Douglas County. Their three children started school in the Upper School District two days after The Backyard opened, and the couple remodeled their home on the property, while putting their own stamp on the business.

The Summit Town business is open six days a week and the Nordbys plan to expand the menu soon. Currently, the company offers the iconic pizzas for which Amnicon Acres has become known. Amanda Nordby said the cheese is what sets them apart.

Customers will find familiar faces when they stop. The couple kept the two part-time bar staff and hired a part-time cook. They could hire a third bartender, Amanda Nordby said. Their children also help. After a recent snowfall, the youngest of the Nordbys cleared snow from the bridge overlooking Lake Amnicon.

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Further changes are planned for the spring.

Chase Nordby said they plan to add an additional dock to the 10 docks they have on Lake Amnicon in front of the company. The campsite offers 48 pitches all but 10 of which are already rented to seasonal campers who return each year and five mobile homes for rent. The Nordbys run a small store outside the bar, offering junk that campers may have forgotten to bring with them, as well as a laundromat.

Amanda and Chase Nordby pose next to the sign at their new facility, The Backyard on Amnicon Lake, on Wednesday, January 13.  (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Amanda and Chase Nordby pose next to the sign at their new facility, The Backyard on Amnicon Lake, on Wednesday, January 13. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

The couple are considering the possibility of adding campsites, perhaps some more rustic, on a 40-acre parcel that is not currently in use. Oh, and they would love to offer an option for pizza ordering online.

Highway 35 brought the family to Douglas County. Chase Nordby has been coming to the area to visit the Apostle Islands and the Washburn area since the age of 4. The whole family enjoys spending time on Lake Superior.

For years the Nordbys were looking for an outdoor business near Lake Superior with the possibility of expansion. Campgrounds and the bar on Lake Amnicon do the trick.

“It was this property; it was exactly what we were looking for, exactly what we wanted, ”said Amanda Nordby.

Chase Nordby is cleaning a table at The Backyard on Amnicon Lake on Wednesday, January 13.  (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Chase Nordby is cleaning a table at The Backyard on Amnicon Lake on Wednesday, January 13. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

“And we just think it’s a great vibe to grow our kids up,” said Chase Nordby.

It was a good time to take the step, they said, before their 14-year-old started high school.

Amanda Nordby, who will be working at the company full time, brings years of fast food restaurant experience. Chase Nordby owned his own sandblasting business in St. Croix Falls before becoming a manager for his time consuming former employer, Cardinal Glass.

They learn new things as they go.

“This is my first week as a bartender,” Chase Nordby said on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

The best thing about starting their own business, they said, is the people they meet.

“Everyone has been so welcoming here, it’s unreal,” said Amanda Nordby. “Just helpful and everyone wants to lend a hand.”

The new owners kept Amnicon Acres’ old phone number, 715-399-8443. Or visit The Backyard on Amnicon Lake Facebook page for more information.