New owner, new restaurant coming to Hartford event center

By Rosemary McCoy

An event center in Hartford is getting a new owner, new name and new restaurant.

Courtney and Tony Axtell are taking over the Hartford Fireside Event Center as of Nov. 1. It’s being renamed Dakota Plains Event Center, and the restaurant will be Blue 42 Sports Grill, Tony Axtell said.

“Hartford is a great community, and we wanted to be a part of it,” he said.

The Axtells also started Prairie View Event Hall near Tea earlier this year. They are still making improvements to that location, which was the former All Occasions by Hy-Vee banquet hall. The Hartford location won’t require as much work, Axtell said, because it was remodeled recently.

They plan to upgrade the bridal suite and make a few changes but will do the work around events that were already scheduled and are being honored by the new business.

Dakota Plains will seat 450 guests, but 300 to 350 is ideal so people aren’t crowded, Axtell said. The event center will have a full-time coordinator, and the business model and services will be similar to Prairie View, Axtell said. Dakota Plains will allow clients to hire whatever catering service and vendors they want to use, and they can rent the space for a full day.

New event hall touts lower prices, ‘stress-free’ service

The event center, which originally was a bowling alley, is next to the AmericInn along Interstate 90, which Axtell said should be an attractive feature to clients.

Axtell said he met with the owners of Char’d Restaurant & Lounge, Dawn and Jeff Schoenfelder, to see if they were interested in continuing, but they decided to focus on their other Hartford business, The Goat Bar & Grill. They also have been managing the event center for the past year for the ownership group, Hartford Fireside LLC.

Char’d will close Oct. 27. Axtell expects to open Blue 42, which will seat 100, by the second week of November.

“I want to bring back the Champps atmosphere,” he said of the former sports restaurant at the Western Mall. “We’ll have the games on, but it won’t be overbearing. It will be really family-oriented. We won’t advertise a happy hour, but we’ll have specials like two large pizzas or four burgers, so you can bring the family over and not break the bank.”

The restaurant will be open early for breakfast, Axtell said, because residents told him that’s something that’s lacking in the community, which is just a few miles northwest of Sioux Falls.

He expects the menu, which is being finalized, to start out small and grow, and he’s planning to add delivery service.

Blue 42 will offer live music a couple of nights a week, and a trivia league will start in November.

Dawn Schoenfelder said The Goat, which is along Highway 38 on the northwest side of town, will expand its weekday hours to serve breakfast and lunch. It will open at 8 a.m. and serve breakfast until 11 a.m. The menu will include typical breakfast fare, along with skillets, omelets and biscuits and gravy. Daily specials will be posted on The Goat’s Facebook page.

The Goat also will start offering live music and karaoke a couple of times a month.

New owner, new restaurant coming to Hartford event center

Courtney and Tony Axtell of Prairie View Event Hall near Tea are expanding their business with the addition of an event center in Hartford.

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