Bobby Tuetken proudly stands in front of a piece of artwork made by his daughter Randi, 19, in the entryway of the new Inn Back. (Photos by Emily Burds)
Bobby Tuetken wanted to give the new Inn Back space a cozy and welcoming feel, while keeping up with the stylish appearance. Guests can relax on these couches and enjoy an evening of entertainment by the fireplace.
By Emily Burds, Express Intern
“You are standing where the old bar was,” Bobby Tuetken says as he shows off the new Inn Back. One would have to look hard to see the remnants of the old Blue Chip in this new, hip space but undoubtedly they are there.
The Inn Back now stands where a majority of the old bar and restaurant once stood before the flood of 2010. Now the space has been transformed into an events room and entertainment venue for the use of all.
“It took us awhile to come up with this idea,” Bobby explained. “But with South Main Events closing down, we saw an opportunity to continue to bring some live music to Monticello as well as create a new space for people to host whatever kind of event they wanted.”
In order to bring people in, Bobby said that he knew he had to create a warm and inviting space that people felt cozy and comfortable in. To help create that atmosphere, Bobby enlisted the help of many family members and friends, including wife Sherry, who took over the decoration and interior design and brother Joe, who created the floor of the entryway. Bobby said without their help and the input of many others, the Inn Back would not be here.
The Inn Back was the last thing to be created and restored following the flood damage in 2010.
“We were still throwing around ideas so I wanted to fix the things that would be guaranteed to bring in some revenue in order to help fund the project.” So The Edge and several studio apartments were quickly redone while the old Blue Chip was gutted of damaged material.
When creating the concept for the new space, there was one thing that Bobby and some of his advisors did not agree on.
“Sherriy didn’t originally like having the entrance in the back,” Bobby said, “But I knew we had to give it it’s own area. I think it separates the space from the rest of the building and with the name, it just fit.”
So from there, the room was created from the old scraps and remnants of before. When bringing in new material, Bobby kept almost everything local. With the help of places like Spahn and Rose, Welter’s Storage Equipment, and Theisen’s, Bobby was able to find everything he needed right here in town.
“We even enlisted the help of Monticello Carpet and Interiors which was right after the big fire and they still were very helpful in finding us what we needed, even if it took going to different stores to obtain their samples,” Bobby said. Keeping things within the community was an important point for Bobby and his family who all weighed in on the project.
“I have the opportunity to get advice from all age groups and walks of life,” Bobby explained. His mother and father, Phil and Judy Tuetken, were helpful giving their perspective down to Bobby’s daughters, who he felt represented the younger generation well, also enlisting the artistic talent of daughter Randi, 19, whose original artwork can be see around the room. Then on the entertainment side was brother Chris, also a financial partner in the business, who has a good background in the music and entertainment industry with his band, Tricyclic.
This range of influences can be seen within the Inn Back which also hosts a variety of its own.
“We have a large range of different size tables as well as the ability to change up the space and break it up,” Bobby said. With banquet and seminar tables as well as the casual sitting area with couches, there is plenty of different styles for any occasion.
As far as entertainment goes, Bobby says he plans to have entertainment one weekend a month, hoping to have the other weekends rented out. Bobby says he has had to learn the new ways of advertising and communication to find acts.
“My daughters have been teaching me how to use Facebook and such to get information out there,” Bobby explained. “I can advertise all I want, and I will as much as I need to, but nothing beats good ole word of mouth.”
He also explained how expensive entertainment has gotten over the years since he brought music to the Blue Chip. He hopes that people can see this and that the cover charges justify that, especially since he is creating these events to be BYOB.
“A $12 cover charge isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things for a night out, especially when you don’t have to pay for high end bar drinks and can just bring your own cooler or case. We can even provide a bucket of ice and maybe even some snack foods down the road,” Bobby said.
With high hopes for the Inn Back, Bobby said there is still some space that is left to play with.
“We still have one more area that was gutted but has not been renovated yet,” he explained. “We are still in the works for what it will become but we really have some free reign with it and will hopefully have it incorporate with the rest of what we offer here.”
Entertainment has been made the focal point at the Inn Back with a center, raised stage. It is here where Bobby plans to host live entertainment about once a month.