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From the left are Stone Tap owners, Anthony Dabruzzi and managing owner Aaron Kearnes. Not pictured is Ed Bremer also an owner. They are sitting in the new bar area.
From the left are Stone Tap owners, Anthony Dabruzzi and managing owner Aaron Kearnes. Not pictured is Ed Bremer also an owner. They are sitting in the new bar area.

Stone Tap opens after massive renovation, 1875 building revealed

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news River Falls, 54022

River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

History is being made again at 517 Second St. The Stone Tap opened to the public July 1. It is the latest incarnation in a building dating back to 1875. For most current Hudson residents it was known as Dibbo's.

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For the last four or five years, three young entrepreneurs, Anthony Dabruzzi, Aaron Kearnes and Ed Bremer looked at different business ventures. They first looked at the Dibbo Hotel building two and a half years ago. True negotiations began in late August of 2012.

"We were able to purchase it three months ago," said Dabruzzi. "We had to be open July 1 for Booster Days."

Since they had over two years to plan, their general contractor Klar-Dig of Minneapolis could start the project immediately.

One-half of the first floor, the bar, café and hallway, was gutted.

"There wasn't a structural component left, everything went -- the plumbing, electrical, everything," said Dabruzzi. Thirty-eight dumpsters of debris were hauled away. In the process contractors discovered the original limestone walls, which are 18 inches thick, were covered with decorative tin. On top of that were two complete sets of stud walls including sheetrock (a total of over six inches thick). Every layer, revealed a surprise including five layers of wallpaper.

They pulled the original bar, which was circa 1920-30, out in one piece.

"It was like a time capsule," said Dabruzzi. "We found wrestling posters, World War II newspapers, a sports calendar from 1959 and several different Hotel Dibbo menus. One showed a scotch for 75 cents and prime rib for $1." One of the menus is being sent to the Smithsonian Institution for their menu collection.

"The best thing we found were the original limestone walls," said Dabruzzi. "We opened up the original areas on the south wall that were windows at one time."

In 55 business days Stone Tap opened. Gone are the famous yellow sign and the café stools.

As one recent customer put it, "That building has good bones."

Besides the surroundings, Stone Tap, a gastro-pub, offers new American, farm to table cuisine.

"We had 125 applications for chef," said Dabruzzi. "As part of the selection process we had them cook for us. "We are going to focus on very high quality food."

Executive chef John Bender is continuing to create new and different entrees for the menu. Small plates now include Bender's own unique version of bacon wrapped shrimp, featuring local honey or a charcuterie plate with Wisconsin meat and cheese as two examples.

"Our intention never was to brew beer," said Dabruzzi. "We are looking for the best craft beers and want to become a destination for beer no one else is offering." At the present time there are nine craft beers on tap that are not offered in Minnesota.

Owner Ed Bremer, according to Dabruzzi is the head of the beer geek universe. Bremer is the executive producer at Beer Geeks TV and owner of Heritage Liquor. In case you haven't noticed craft beers are the buzz nearly everywhere. Stone Tap will offer flights of craft beer which you can pair with small plates to make an evening out of sampling both beer and food.

"The menu and beer list will expand and evolve," said Dabruzzi. The second phase of construction will include the renovation of the old Dibbo night club into a 7,000-square-foot entertainment center, suitable for weddings and banquets.

Stone Tap is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 am. to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to close (12 a.m. to 2 a.m.) depending on the customers. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Small plates are available in between.

For more information and to view a blog detailing the demolition, go to http://stonetaphudson.com or call (715) 808-8343.

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