ReGrow Dining Spotlight

White Bear Bar
T J Ricci, Owner

White Bear Bar

Second generation owner T J Ricci, exhibits a sense of pride discussing the bar his parents opened in 1974. The family has been the owners of this “Cheers” style bar where everyone knows your name for most of the last 46 years. In 1996 the Ricci’s entered into an agreement with the city to lease the building, while retaining ownership of the business. According to Ricci, “things have been going very wellfor the past 24 years”. 

The original building was built in the 1870’s, as a livery stable. Shortly after prohibition ended in the early 1930’s, Fred Lenhart, a professional boxer, and fixture for years with the WBL Fire Department, purchased the building and opened Lenhart’s Bar, which he ran until 1969. It is said when the fire whistle sounded Fred would leave the patrons in charge while he ran out to help fight the fire! 

Ricci speaks with pride of the friendly, family atmosphere, the dedicated hardworking staff, and the family’s commitment to community. Over the years the bar has continued to sponsor many youth sports teams, including football, hockey, softball and lacrosse. They are big supporters of the WBL Hockey Association through meat raffles and charitable gambling. 

Ricci feels the longevity and loyalty of their employees is due to the strong family atmosphere and a feeling that the owners “have their backs”. Longtime manager Angie Eret has been working with staff to create a Facebook page to help support other bars and restaurants in town. 

During the initial COVID shutdown, the bar underwent an interior renovation, with new furniture, barstools and a whole new bar and bar top. “It has really given the place a fresh look”, says Ricci. For food they offer popcorn and Heggies pizzas. The Bar is open seven days a week. 

This article written by Ken Galloway, and originally featured in the White Bear Press.