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Downtown Hartington welcomes back The Chief

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HARTINGTON - There is a new restaurant opening in town.

The Chief Restaurant and Lounge planned to open this week, but now it will be pushed back to next week. It is opening under a new owner with a new angle.

Angie Schmidt of Fordyce will be the new owner and operator, and she has a goal.

“I had been approached by several people in this town to open an eating establishment because Hartington needs an eating establishment,” said Schmidt. “There is a Subway, Pizza Hut, and a Casey’s and they want a regular restaurant setting.”

The new restaurant will feature burgers named after Native American Chiefs — to go along with the name of the business. It will also serve homemade pizza, broasted chicken, fish on every Friday, prime rib on Saturdays, and a Sunday buffet from 10-1. Not to mention pastries and desserts.

“We will be having donuts and different deserts,” said Schmidt. “I have a donut case so there will be donuts in the morning. There will be different types of cakes, pies and other desserts as well.”

The Chief Restaurant and Lounge will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From Tuesday through Friday, Schmidt says she will open at 6 AM for anyone looking for breakfast before work. She will also have alcoholic beverages in the near future, but that is currently still in progress.

Schmidt owned Mama Mech in Crofton before a change of ownership in the building forced her to close her doors. 

Preparing the new restaurant has been a process about a year long, as renovations have been stalled by personal reasons, but now Chief Restaurant and Lounge prepares to open the doors.

“I’ve had two knee replacement surgeries so that put me back with getting work done. I had one in December and one in May.”

There have also been complications with a liquor license application that needed to be sent a second time, and equipment that took a while to arrive.

“We’ve had to wait on equipment that was purchased back in April,” said Schmidt. “It took over three and a half months to get it. I kept hounding him asking where is my stuff, and when it came it was the wrong stuff. It was the wrong size, it was broken, My pizza dough mixer was dropped. It has been a headache.”

The renovations included cosmetic updates, like painting the walls. A husker mural can be seen on the far wall that was painted by Angie Peitz at Etched Impressions. There will also be a tribute to the veterans that will feature a United States of America flag, a Nebraska Flag, all five branches of the military flags, and a POW flag.