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Uncle Mike's M Pour E Yum keeps the JR Ranch tradition alive

Uncle Mike's M Pour E Yum owners, Sue and Mike Kinney, stand in the room referred to as the Steakhouse Lodge. It features the largest charcoal grill in the state. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl1 / 2
The original JR Ranch opened in 1961. There has been a dining establishment on site for nearly all of the 50 years since. Hudson Star-Observer file photo2 / 2

Fifty years since the JR Ranch was at the top of this area's entertainment world, Mike and Sue Kinney are thrilled to be the latest entrepreneurs making the long-time location a successful eatery, sports bar, grill and gathering spot for people throughout St. Croix County.

Conveniently located just off I-94 at exit four, it draws a crowd nearly every weekend.

The Kinneys bought the business in December of 2009, changed the name and have been making steady changes and improvements ever since. The building and surrounding property is owned by Dave Alwin, a classmate of Mike Kinney, who graduated from Hudson High School in 1981. Kinney is no stranger to the bar and restaurant business. With Sam Ricci as a great uncle, Kinney practically grew up in the bar business. After high school he served four years in the Marines, from 1982-86, returning to Hudson and starting a long career in the food business. Over the years, Kinney has worked at Dick's, Sunsets, Club Chaos, The Brass Track, Agave Kitchen as well as Afton Cruise Lines.

"I was working at Dick's when Fred (Kramer) opened the Hammond Hotel," said Kinney. So bar and restaurant management is nothing new to him.

"I always said I wasn't going to own a bar," said Kinney, who had left the industry to pursue a job in construction. "But when construction took a downturn I had to take a second look."

He is joined in the business by his wife Sue and their two daughters, Amanda and Cara.

"He comes home with this idea that I can keep the books," said Sue, a 1984 graduate of Ellsworth High School and a legal secretary. "I said if it is what you want to do."

The couple has spent the last 16 months, creating their own place. They have sound proofed the big room where bands play every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and added two 12-foot television screens for specific sports events. In addition there are about 20 screens throughout the building.

Also, they discovered and refurbished the state's largest indoor wood-fired grill, which means customers clamor to be included in Thursday's steak night. The grill is located in what was once a screened porch, which they remodeled with a lodge theme.

Friday night features a fish fry and King crab leg special and Saturdays menu feature is prime rib.

Soon to come is an updated menu in which some of Grandma Dabruzzi's authentic Italian recipes will be featured.

Uncle Mike's M Pour E Yum opens Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. and at noon on Saturday. It is open until the bar closes at 2 a.m. weeknights and 2:30 weekend nights. The kitchen closes earlier.

"We have come a long ways," said Kinney. "I have a great staff."

For more information you may visit them at their website, www.unclemikesmpoureyum.com or call (715) 691-2525.

Officially it is called Uncle Mike's M Pour E Yum Sports Bar and Event Center. The name, by the way, was created by Sue's and Mike's daughters, the Pour stands for the bar and the Yum the food part of the business.