The Lucky Pig is coming to Farnhamville

Community effort paves way for new restaurant

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Randy Russell, owner of the Lucky Pig, poses with Doug Johnson and Reggie Kopecky with the Farnhamville Betterment Committee in front of the soon-to-open restaurant. The committee has been remodeling for the past two years, and Russell now plans to open in mid-April.

FARNHAMVILLE — The town of Farnhamville is about to get a little more lucky.

In fact, it isn’t just luck — citizens of the town have put in a lot of hard work and funding which will pay off when the Lucky Pig Farnhamville opens next month.

The new restaurant, in a main street storefront that was once Tony’s Steakhouse, will now be run by Randy Russell, of the Lucky Pig in Ogden, after extensive remodeling by Farnhamville Betterment Inc.

“Doug and Reggie and the rest of the betterment committee have done a great job of fixing this up,” Russell said on a recent morning as workers tended to the new grill and fume hood. “They put a lot of time and effort into this. I want to give them credit.”

Doug Johnson, president of Farnhamville Betterment Inc., along with Reggie Kopecky and several other volunteers have been a vital part of bringing the building back to life.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Randy Russell, left, Doug Johnson and Reggie Kopecky work in the nearly-finished Lucky Pig in Farnhamville. The Betterment Committee has done remodeling over the last two years.

And they’re happy to have someone to use it.

“Everybody in the area is excited for him to come to town. He runs a great restaurant in Ogden,” Johnson said.

There will be burgers, prime rib and occasionally steak at the new eatery– but, as you might suspect, the Lucky Pig’s primary protein is pork.

“We cook everything fresh. All our salad dressings are fresh,” Russell said. “Our burgers, our meats are never frozen. None of our meat’s ever frozen.”

They also cut, slice and hand bread their tenderloin, which won the Iowa Pork Producers Association Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin award a few years back.

“Our tenderloin’s our big seller,” Russell said.

The Farnhamville restaurant will have a few differences from Ogden, but much of the menu will be the same. Russell plans to open nights Tuesday through Saturday at first, and eventually work into the lunch hour. The first day will be sometime in mid-April.

Russell first met the Farnhamville group at an auction about a year ago, as Doug and Kopecky were trying to restock the restaurant.

“I bid against them on these restaurant booths,” Russell said. “I bought them at an auction, and then decided I didn’t want them. They were the second bidders so I decided to sell them to them.

“They were looking for someone to open up here, and the timing was good for myself. It’s far enough away from Ogden that I’m not just trading customers.”

Johnson said the volunteers spent over four months working in the building last winter, and have been at it since November this winter, plus a little bit in the summer.

“We pretty much remodeled the whole front end last winter, and started on the kitchen this winter,” Johnson said. “The previous owner had an auction and sold everything. I bought this bar on the auction.

“He sold all the coolers, the vent hoods and everything. So we had to find all that. None of these tables or anything were here.”

The committee also installed a new furnace and new, better ventilation for the restaurant, he said.

Johnson is grateful for the people of the community, who have stepped up and donated enough to cover most of the expenses of refurbishing and purchasing new equipment.

Russell plans to offer good service, and especially good food, for a town with no grocery store and no convenience store.

“You give great service, great food, a fun atmosphere, people will come,” he said. “The food has to be good. If the food is really good and the service is iffy, people will give you a second chance. If you come in and the food is iffy the first time, some people just won’t come back.”