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Our Story

More Than Great Food

Emmett James "Jim" Meister founded the first (Jim) Meister’s Bar & Grill in 1948 on the corner of Churchill & 4th Street South, serving 3.2 beer and pub food. This flagship pub was the beginning of a series of family owned restaurants spanning across decades and locations for Jim and his wife, Eileen, his brothers, and his 7 children - Steve, Sandy, James (Bernie), Jean (Missy), Dave & Tom (Twins), and William (Pooker).

 

By 1964,  Jim had purchased the building, moving his entire family in the living space above the bar, and when Jim passed away in 1979, Eileen took over operations entirely, gradually partnering with her children on management and operation. Throughout the years, numerous other restaurants were purchased and operated by the Meister family, including: 

 

  • Meister’s Bar & Grill in Scandia, Minnesota by Bob Meister, Jim's brother (1959) 

  • Brookside in Marine, Minnesota by Dick Meister, Jim's brother (1970)

  • Meister’s Bar & Grill in Cedar Lake, Wisconsin by Bernie Meister, Jim & Eileen's son (1979) 

  • Meister’s Bar & Grill in Phillips, Wisconsin by Steve Meister, Jim & Eileen's son (1979)

  • Stillwater Grill (now Leo's) in downtown Stillwater, Minnesota by Sandy Hudson (Meister), Jim & Eileen's daughter (1990) 

  • Meister’s Bar & Grill Boardman in New Richmond, Wisconsin by Dave Meister, Jim & Eileen's son (1991) 

  • Meister’s Bar & Grill in Shoreview, Minnesota by Tom Meister, Jim & Eileen's son (2007)

 

Over the years, Meister’s Stillwater has continued to evolve. The kitchen was renovated to provide an open-concept cooking area with multiple deep fryers and a flat top to essentially allow the restaurant to be a “one man show” after the lunch rush each day. When Jim applied for a full liquor license in the ‘70s, neighbors of the community originally protested. He compromised by closing on Sunday’s to provide the neighborhood a break, thus giving us our Monday-Saturday hours. Additionally, the famous Burgermeister wasn’t added to the menu until 1975, and the shag carpet on the walls, stucco exterior and wood panels throughout the dining area were not added until after 1977 when Jim went to Germany and was inspired by the decor. From German steins to oversized copper mugs and hot air balloon wood-carved wall art, the nick-nacks, relics and decor have been added throughout the years by “Road Gypsy” purchases as well as Eileen’s avid collecting from antique stores, garage sales, and more. 

 

Although some of the restaurants have since been sold to invidivuals outside of the family, the Stillwater location remains family owned and operated by Meister brothers Tom, Steve and Pooker, as well as Tom’s son, Tom Junior. Meister’s Boardman and Cedar Lake also remain in the family.

We're honored to be a historical part of the Stillwater community and to be able to serve our many cherished patrons to this day! 

Meister Boys
Emmett Meister on a car, black and white
Meisters 1.JPG

Family Owned and Operated Since 1948

Side of Meisters Present Day with Old Car
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