Since August of 2011 ownership of Lumberjacks has switched from Larry Buehler to John and Martha Toncich. Toncich had previously been hired to consult for Lumberjacks to help turn it around and eventually he came upon the purchase. Toncich explains he wanted to maintain the business to help keep a part of Ridgway’s heritage alive.
“Larry redid the restaurant in late 2006 as a dedication to the town,” Toncich said. “The lumber industry is what built this county, and the history shouldn’t be walked away from.”
As new owner of the uniquely designed place to eat, Toncich is enthusiastic about the future of Lumberjacks and how it will develop. “It still has so much untapped potential,” Toncich said. “The upstairs bar and deck haven’t been used to its fullest and they are going to be evolved. I hope two years from now we will be fully operational.”
Other things Toncich has revised are previous recipes.
“We have all new recipes that are made from scratch,” Toncich said. “These are my recipes that I have learned from working on the job with some amazing chefs over the years.”
Having redone mostly all of the existing recipes, Toncich is most excited about the prime rib. Other things he is proud of are the homemade red, white and clam sauces, dressings and the unique way they dress up chicken dishes.
“We have completely revamped the whole prime rib dish,” Toncich said. “It has a lot of flavor now.”
Twice a year Toncich intends on changing the menus to serve the consumer better, but new menus don’t mean new prices.
“I won’t raise prices with the new menus,” Toncich said. “I have adjusted the menu to keep the prices the same or even lower them.”
Something Toncich wants to rid Lumberjacks of completely is the high priced and special occasion stigma.
“People see this as a high priced place to go, but that is not the case. We are going to have specials for $10-$12 available,” Toncich said. “There are some things that I can’t sell cheap, but I want to be here for everyone.”
Before taking over Lumberjacks, Toncich was a Director of Food Service at Lambeau Field and worked for the Green Bay Packers. Upon expiration of his contract, he decided it was time to move back to his wife’s native town of Ridgway with their seven children. In the past, Toncich has resided in Ridgway, but now with a family he is pleased to be back.
“The quality of life and safety for the kids is great,” Toncich said. “The community has been great, and we are fortunate to know a lot of people in town.”
Lumberjacks features Mexican on Tuesday night after 4 p.m.; a seafood focus on Fridays after 4 p.m.; and prime rib on Saturdays after 4 p.m. Other specialty nights like Italian night are to come. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and Sunday 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.