Odin & Freja’s Place set to open
Scandinavia welcomes another business
By Holly Neumann
Odin & Freja’s Place is set to open in July under the management of owners Gordon Kirchoff and Carol Kraco.
Located at 335 N. Main St. in Scandinavia, where Van Dyke’s Restaurant was formerly located.
“We are excited for this new journey and cannot wait to get even more involved in the community,” Kirchoff said.
Growing tired of their regular jobs, the couple, from Milwaukee, began to actively look for a business that they could get involved in that had a residence attached.
“We saw this building for sale and decided to go for it,” Kirchoff said. “We wanted to do something new, something adventurous.”
“Before the pandemic, I was working five part-time jobs,” Kraco said. “Now, we have a place where we can live and not have to worry about driving to work every day. The kids are grown, now it is our turn. Our friends are either crazy jealous or think we’re nuts.”
The couple has been working since November to refurbish the property and create a place with a relaxing, creative atmosphere.
“We have had a lot of feedback from people that they would like to have a nice place to just hang out with friends,” Kraco said.
“We never intended on opening a bar, but the idea started to grow on us,” Kirchoff said. “We decided to make it a place that we would like to go to.”
The birth of Odin & Freja’s Place
Since both are big fans of the show “Norsemen,” the name Odin & Freja’s seemed perfect.
“They get mentioned quite a bit in the series and it fit the whole Scandinavian profile of the community,” Kirchoff said.
“It’s much easier to name a place when there is already a theme,” Kraco said.
Odin & Freja’s Place will offer a full bar with craft brews, domestic wine, mead and other local favorites. They will have a selection of nonalcoholic cocktails as well. For now, they will only serve snacks.
“We will have as many local items we can possibly get,” Kraco said. “We knew before that supporting local businesses was important, but it is exponentially more important here. The ability to work off of each other is really great.”
Odin & Freja’s Place will also feature trivia nights, open mic night, a large variety of music, board games, card games, building blocks and more.
“We want them to say, this is what we hoped it would be,” Kirchoff said.
“That we have welcomed them into my home,” Kraco said. “To feel comfortable here, relax and listen to some great music.”
They have felt warmly welcomed by the community.
“When we thought about moving here, we thought we were never going to see anyone, that we would be lucky if we sell 50 beers,’ Kirchoff said.
“We thought it would be quiet,” Kraco said. “Our social scene here is bigger than in Milwaukee. It has been fabulous.”
They have found everyone to be extremely supportive.
“It’s culture shock in a good way,” Kirchoff said. “We have never been busier and never talked to so many people.”
The couple also owns the adjoining business, which will be a store called The Runestick.
“This will be a gallery/curiosity shop,” Kraco said. “I would like to feature some local Wisconsin artists and handmade goods, along with some random edgy items.”
The goal for the shop is zero waste, repurposing of items and maybe some art classes down the road.
Kirchoff and Kraco said there is a real sense of community in Scandinavia.
“It was wonderful that there was a little parade for the softball team that was going to state,” Kirchoff said. “They lined up all the emergency vehicles. I thought to myself, ‘This is great.’”
“Scandinavia is such a vibrant community,” Kraco said. “We are excited to be a part of it.”