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The Orchard is built around a 120-year-old barn and silo, which have been completely remodeled, offering several dining and banquet options.

Baldwin banquet facility is Hudson businessman's latest venture

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When The Orchard in Baldwin opened in August of 2009, Dick and Jean Pearson of Hudson gathered their considerable clan together to celebrate the newest of many business adventures Dick has taken his family on over the years.

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The Pearsons moved to Hudson 22 years ago. Married for 54 years, Dick and Jean were both driven by a strong work ethic along with persistence and frugality.

At a time when other couples their age might opt for permanent retirement, Dick was encouraged to develop a banquet facility on property he bought as an investment in 2000. So with success in other businesses behind them, a grown family, eight children, 22 grandchildren and one great grandchild, the couple pursued plans for a unique banquet, bar and restaurant facility just north of I-94, at Exit 19 on Hwy 63.

The Orchard opened in August of 2009 after a year of planning and construction. The property was once a nursery and apple orchard owned by Ron and Kay Debbon. New construction and design incorporated existing structures such as the original 120-year-old barn and the apple cold storage area.

What the new Orchard brings to central St. Croix County is a banquet facility that can plate up to 300 meals at a time under the direction of executive chef Eddie Chamberlain formerly of the Lake Elmo, Minn., Inn. He brings food knowledge, presentation and fabulous flavors to the menus.

Peter Katsiotis, the general manager for The Orchard joins Chamberlain, from such noted area restaurants as Manny's, Rain Forest Café and Champps.

The entire facility is smoke-free and offers a subtle patriotic theme throughout.

In addition to the banquet area, the main dining room and bar offers booth and table seating for over 100; the sports bar features "Chill-disc" coolers embedded in the bar surface that keep your beer at 26 degrees. An outdoor patio will seat 75 and offers an outdoor kitchen and fireplace.

What has already become a favorite meeting spot for area businesses is the old barn itself.

To date, The Orchard has hosted 75 large and small businesses in one of their many gathering rooms such as the Loft, Barn, Sports Bar, Main Eatery or Banquet Room. The future looks bright as 44 weddings have already been booked for 2010.

The interior is filled with unique little touches like the checker and chess tables located between the banquet facility and the main dining room. A wall of clocks shows time in ten different regions of the world. Rustic booths and tables were constructed by Kolya Hawksford, Pearson's grandson. A bar in the sports bar area is made from a deep center slice out of a tree complete with bark. The curved bar in the main dining room is 92 layers of different wood laminated together. Other family members have pitched in to get the business off to a successful start including their daughter, Mary Hawksford.

The Orchard is open seven days a week, Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

For reservations or additional information, call (715) 688-6666 or go to www.theorchardofbaldwin.com.

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