After a long day of sprinting yesterday, I’m excited to have this rest day between race days to recuperate, and also write about my favorite pizza place around, the Rivers Eatery. Mick and Beth Endersbe graciously fed the SMS T2 team en route to nationals in Houghton, and I’m fairly confident their pizza had something to do with my best race at National’s ever. On a snowy and slow day, I ended up moving through qualification, and all of the heats to the “A” Final in the classic sprint. After 5 minutes of “sprinting” around the course for the fourth time, I crossed the line fourth overall for the day. I’m so excited, and so happy I had the Birkie supporting me the whole way. Thanks guys!
And now for the good stuff…read on for an interview with Mick Endersbe of the Rivers Eatery!
What was the need you saw for the Rivers Eatery in the Cable area?
We used to just come up here and ski, and after big weekends or events we’d see all the cars going by in a single file line through Cable back to the cities. We loved the community so much, and felt that we needed to share it with more people. We felt like people didn’t have a place to gather, so they’d just grab some food to go and head back to the cities after a day on the trails. We just wanted a place for people to gather. We saw the beautiful old building that we are now located in for sale, and thought, “what if all of those people driving could have a place to congregate and hang out, instead of just heading off in their separate cars? What if they had a common warm place to meet and discuss the day?” So we bought the building, and figured if we gave them good food, good drink, and a great space that the people would just come and gather. The purpose was to give people a stopping place after a day of exercise to celebrate the day and unwind before they went home. When you think about the people out on the trail, you typically pass people and at most chat for one to two minutes before moving on. What I love about our Eatery is it gives people a space to actually spend time together instead of just in passing on the trail. I believe that since we’ve opened Rivers, people actually know each other instead of just knowing of each other.
How have you seen Rivers and the broader Cable community grow since your Spring opening in 2008?
When we initially came here, single track and mountain biking were really just beginning. 7 years later we’ve got 100 miles of single track. Mountain biking has gone crazy and also participation on the ski trails has gone crazy. Partly this is because we’ve had good snow when others don’t, but also because we have consistent and phenomenal grooming. The trails are very reliable, and people come up here knowing there will be skiing. Further, a lot of people have bought homes up here. So instead of just passing through town and staying at resorts, people have put stock in the community by investing in a permanent home. All of this just leads to more people in the area. And people are happier than they’ve ever been with the experience. The improvements of the trail, facilities, trailheads, parking, and consistently amazing grooming has people making the active lifestyle part of their permanent lifestyle.
What is the Rivers Eatery philosophy?
At the restaurant, and as a family and a business, we want to make people’s lives better. We’re all about a “movie” experience. We tell our staff that there is going to be a movie in front of you tonight, but you aren’t a part of it you just have to support it. If you do a good job supporting, at the end of the night it’s something you’d want to go home and watch. We are just trying to enhance people’s lives through good food, good space, and great people. We gave up our other careers to do this, so we are always simply looking for a way to enhance people’s experience.
What does the future look like for the Cable area?
I think there is a lot of opportunity for additional businesses. We are really at the cusp where someone could move up here, and I’m confident they could cater a business to the silent sports crowd, and I think they’d have a very nice lifestyle. People keep coming, and we need more amenities and more services to meet their needs. We need to as a community continue to add services, whether it’s restaurants, shops, or guide services, we need to continue to grow. We are seeing 10 to 15% growth every year since the day we opened, and that’s in a recession. I think the active lifestyle is recession proof. If anything it has made us realize what is important, and one thing people can control is their lifestyle. We just happen to cater to that chosen lifestyle.
What is your relationship with the Birkie?
We try, and our charge and role in the experience is to make sure we give a quality experience to people who race the Birkie, and also to people who just utilize the Birkie trails. If people bring a friend or come to the area for the first time, we want them to walk into a building that makes them feel like it was built just for them. We are able to focus on that group of people, and for 8 to 10 weeks our business really is just skiers. We are able to focus on skiers, and more specifically Birkie skiers knowing confidently that we will have a viable business from those skiers. In that process we can build this really unique food experience that the public gets to participate in. But because I know our metaphorical skis are about to be waxed by the Birkie, I know we can go ahead and invest in infrastructure, staff, and quality food knowing that we will sell it. In that process the community gets to experience what without the Birkie would never happen. The Birkie’s consistency in bringing people throughout all the seasons, and the promise of a great natural resource has really smoothed out our cash flow and allowed us to invest in our business and go forward more confidently.
What’s your favorite pizza?
My favorite pizza is probably the Amnicon (oranges, Canadian Bacon, banana peppers, and roasted red peppers). I just like the combination of sweet and salty, and the meat and fruit and vegetable, it satisfies a lot of things and if you’re going to eat one meal it should be this pizza because you get to enjoy a lot of flavors. The St. Croix (Pesto base with tomatoes, artichokes, and spinach) is the most popular, and it’s probably our most beautiful pizza. Right behind that is the Spirit Creek (Organic Sauerkraut and Pulled Pork).
Thanks Mick! My rest day ends with tomorrow’s 20K mass start classic race, and thanks for catching up with my Birkie Countdown!