Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Free beer coupon makes “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” November 9, 2012

WHY, OH, WHY didn’t I think of this? Someone submitted the L & M Bar & Grill “free beer with breakfast” coupon, the one I posted about here on October 25, to NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

The coupon was featured in Leno’s Monday night, November 5, “Headlines” monologue. You can view the piece by clicking here. Note that the Dundas bar coupon is highlighted near the end of the clip.

One of two coupons published in Rice County Coupon Connection. I’ve voided this free beer coupon.

Here’s what Leno had to say when he placed the coupon on display before the television camera:

OK, OK, this is when you know you have a drinking problem. L & M Bar & Grill. Free beer with purchase of breakfast. OK, if you’re drinking at breakfast…

So what’s the story behind that coupon and what has been the reaction to “The Tonight Show” exposure at L & M Bar in tiny Dundas, which is just south of Northfield? Well, I phoned manager Pauline Koester this morning to get some answers.

Pauline used words like “cool,” “awesome” and “way to go” to describe her reaction and that of customers to Leno’s inclusion of the coupon.

“How often do you hit national television?” she said. “That’s pretty rare.”

She was shocked to learn of the national exposure via Facebook, Pauline says, but is pleased with the advertising for the bar her father, Lyle Koester, owns. Reaction has been only positive, she added.

So how did the manager come up with this “free beer with the purchase of breakfast” idea at a place that serves breakfast only in the mornings, from 7 a.m. – 11 a.m. weekdays and Saturdays and from 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Sundays?

Well, on a recent visit from her newspaper advertising rep, Pauline blurted, “Throw in a beer for breakfast.” The bar often offers a free beverage or drink “with purchase of,” she explained. And so two coupons offering “free beer with purchase of breakfast ($4.50 or more)” were printed in the Rice County Coupon Connection book distributed recently with the Faribault Daily News and the Northfield News.

The impromptu beer and breakfast coupon idea was an effort to boost breakfast sales among third shift factory and healthcare workers who like to have a beer before going to bed, Pauline said.

Thus far only a few free beer coupons have been redeemed. They expire on November 30, 2012, and on January 31, 2013.

Pauline’s curious, as are her customers, and me, about who sent the L & M Bar free beer coupon to Leno.

She’s contemplating sending a thank you—an L & M Bar & Grill coffee cup with a free beer coupon.

Now…if Leno shows up at the Dundas bar to redeem that coupon, wouldn’t that be something.

© Text copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Edited coupon from Rice County Coupon Connection


My writing connection to a Fargo bookstore

A snippet of the many bookshelves at Zandbroz Variety. So artful and colorful and inviting.

MY PURPOSE IN CHECKING OUT a downtown Fargo, North Dakota, bookstore/gift shop recently focused on a single reason—Lake Region Review.

I wanted to see this Minnesota literary journal on the shelves of Zandbroz Variety because, well, my poetry is published in volumes one and two. Recently-released LRR 2 features 34 pieces of writing by selected authors in Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas.

Lake Region Review 2, with wood print cover art by well-known Minnesota artist Charles Beck of Fergus Falls, nestles next to the first volume of LRR. Beck’s cover art is titled “Cardinals.”

Given that 430 fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry submissions were submitted to the Battle Lake-based Lake Region Writers Network for volume two, getting into the collection is an honor and accomplishment. I’m in the company of mighty fine writers, many of them with an impressive list of writing credentials.

I also happen to live in southeastern Minnesota, far, far away from most of the writers featured in LRR and also far away from events related to the release of the second volume.

The back room of Zandbroz Variety, site of readings, book club meetings and other events and gatherings.

Visiting Zandbroz Variety offered me an opportunity to connect with the Fargo bookstore which will host a Lake Region Review Two Reading Event at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 9. I didn’t know about the event when I visited Zandbroz and introduced myself. And when I photographed the delightful back room of Zandbroz, I was unaware LLR 2 contributors will soon be reading in this cozy and inviting space.

Artwork in Zandbroz Variety’s back room with a favorite quote of mine from the book, The Help.

It was pure coincidence that, two days later, I would receive an email from Luke Anderson, president of the LRWN inviting me and other LLR 2 writers to participate in the reading at Zandbroz. I wish I could, but a 300-mile (one-way) road trip to Fargo is not in my plans as I’ve been to that North Dakota city four times already since February. (My son attends North Dakota State University.) Gas, hotel and dining expenses add up.

Likewise, I couldn’t join other LRR 2 writers who recently read their works for a program to be aired November 30 – December 2 on nine western Minnesota radio stations from Worthington in the extreme southwest to Fergus Falls on the north.

So it goes. I’m not much anyway on public appearances, preferring to write rather than perform. But I’m learning, too, the value in reading poetry aloud to an audience, having done that thrice now.

Promoting is also part of this writing gig. And that, too, can be a challenge given my Minnesota predisposition not to call attention to myself.

However, I did inform the young man staffing Zandbroz Variety that I had poems in both volumes of Lake Region Review. “Perhaps you remember the first; I mentioned cow pee,” I told him. “And in the second, I mention beer.”

He laughed, considered for a moment and replied that “cow pee” sounded familiar to him. Maybe. Maybe not. But I expect he’ll remember me now.

The lines, the books, the setting…this a scene in the back reading room. Love the ambiance.

A close-up of the chair back in the photo above. I have no idea from what book these pages were pulled. But I’d place a literary chair like this in my home any day.

Jolts of color on a door in that welcoming back room.

A rug for sale in the variety section of Zandbroz where you will find an eclectic mix of funky and retro and otherwise interesting merchandise. This made me think of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

An enchanting Christmas display near the front of the store.

Outside a front door of Zandbroz, I found this lovely tile work. I apologize for the lack of exterior store photos. But a light mist was falling at the time and I was reluctant to pull out my camera. I also limited my interior shots as Zandbroz was busy, busy and other shoppers do not always appreciate someone aiming a camera at them.

FYI: To learn more about Lake Region Writers Network, click here to reach the writers’ group website.

To see where you can find copies of Lake Region Review, published in 2011 and 2012, click here. LRR 2 includes writing by the following: Maxine Adams, Luke Anderson, Joe Baker, Frances Ann Crowley, Holly Dowds, Cindy Fox, Yahya Frederickson, Susan Gilbert, Ruby Grove, Vinnie Hansen, Audrey Kletscher Helbling, Nancy Klepetka, Karla Klinger, Elisa Korentayer, Judy R. Korn, Ryan Kutter, Julie C. Larson, Kim Larson, Linda Frances Lein, Kathleen Lindstrom, Ethan Marxhausen, Linda Back McKay, Travis Moore, Kristine Price, Candace Simar, Doris Lueth Stengel, Liz Sweder, Francine Marie Tolf, Benet Tvedten and Kevin Zepper.

Click here to see where you can listen to readings from LRR 2 airing soon on nine western Minnesota radio stations.

Finally, click here to learn more about Zandbroz Vareity, founded by brothers Jeff and Greg Danz and with stores in Fargo (420 Broadway) and in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Do you see how they came up with the clever name for their business?

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling