And the question is - "What is a Hoodlebug?"
Yes, you read that correctly. A "hoodlebug" is indeed a slang term for a small passenger train car that once provided commuter service in parts of the United States, normally in rural areas between towns or from towns to factories or mines before the advent of bus service.
Hoodlebug, however, is also the name of a new business which opened quietly on Monday, September 24 in Alta, and will have a Grand Opening celebration this Saturday, September 29th.
The Hoodlebug is owned by Cindy Pedersen of Alta, who bought an old train passenger car and depot without hesitation about one year ago because she knew exactly how to put them use. "I didn't want to see Alta's Main Street die," said Pedersen, " and I wanted to make sure Alta had somewhere fun to be."
Pedersen, who has been involved in food service for 30 years is currently the Food Service Manager for the Storm Lake School District. She said that she has always dreamed of having her own coffee/bistro business, and her supportive family encouraged her to "follow her dream."
The passenger train and depot building she purchased once operated as The Depot Restaurant, which closed several years ago. Pedersen and her husband, with the help of other family members, spent a lot of time and effort over the past few months remodeling and renovating the former restaurant, and they were working right up until Sunday night to enable them to open for business as scheduled on Monday morning.
The Hoodlebug will also be open for lunch, and then the kitchen will close from 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. to get ready for dinner patrons. Manager Lisa Hare says the current plan is to close at 7 p.m. on weekdays, though she says that they are still in the mode of "seeing what works and what doesn't," and that the schedule may change at some point in the future. The current plan also calls for The Hoodelbug to be open from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturdays, with the kitchen closing at 1:30, and to be closed on Sundays. The menu will include several items not often found around these parts, along with some more standard fare.
The Hoodlebug also has a coffee shop, located off the main dining area, a lounging area with comfortable couches on which patrons can sit and chat while they drink their coffee, and a gift shop,which is located in the old depot building. A variety of items will be available for purchase in the Gift Shop. In addition, the Hoodlebug will also have items such as tablecloths and settings which people can rent for wedding rehearsals or other large functions, and the building itself will also be available for small group meetings. Contact Lisa Hare at 712-200-1987 for details.
Hare said that they welcome feedback about the business, and that customer service is very important to them. The Hoodelbug has a staff of 15-20 employees, including High School students as well as adults.
One thing that probably will not happen at the Hoodlebug Bistro? A customer being asked to leave. The business actually encourages customers to linger as long as they like, as long as they are not being disruptive.
The Grand Opening at the Hoodlebug is set for this Saturday, September 29th. The business is located just off Highway 7, at the north end of Alta's Main Street. The Red Ribbon Cutting is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m.