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Alley Katz to liven up North Side with drinks, music and food

by Joe Buttweiler –

MASON CITY – Alley Katz, a new bar and restaurant offering homemade pizzas, subs and a wide variety of beverages and entertainment, is expected to open April 1 in the former home of a North Iowa culinary legend, the Flame & Embers supper club, 1341 N. Federal Ave.

The bar will have one of the biggest dance floors in Mason City, with live music, DJ’s and karaoke for music-lovers; plus pool, free Wi-Fi and video games on a big-screen TV, said owner Kathy Hebel, who previously ran the Happy Heart restaurant.

Alley Katz will be a lot more than just a place to have a drink, she said. There will be pizza, subs, sandwiches, a variety of beer, wine, liquor, coffee and soft drinks.

There is a new main bar, a new island bar and new windows. The wooden floors have been refinished. There’s new lighting and bathrooms. The large corner stage will be resurfaced. There will be table and booth seating, and of course stools along the bars, said DaLayne Germundson, bar manager.

He showed a visitor around the bar and restaurant on Tuesday, pointing out the ovens, booths and décor used by the former Flame & Embers restaurant. The property later housed a rock and roll bar, he said, also pointing out the large corner stage and dance area.

“There won’t be anyplace in town with a dance floor this big, and three bars,” he said. There will be room for 260 to 300 just in the bar area. An adjacent room to the north will house the restaurant, he said, although patrons of the bar will be able to order off the restaurant menu.

Alley Katz will be big enough that people won’t feel cramped, but friendly enough that they’ll feel safe and secure, Germundson said. “It will be a nice place to come and have a drink and listen to some music, and have something to eat if you want.”

Hebel said she hopes to have the bar side of the business open on April Fools Day. “That would be a good day to remember it by.” But it will take a while longer for the restaurant side to open to the public.

She said she plans to eventually have two PlayStation consoles where customers can play on big-screen TV’s.
As for the food, Hebel said Alley Katz will make its own bread for the pizzas and subs. “I use as much fresh as possible,” she said. “I don’t want everything coming out of a truck.”

Lunches will be prepared quickly and priced affordably, catering to people who have just a short break for lunch.

“I just want to make it affordable,” she said of the bar and restaurant. There are a lot of people who don’t have much money because of the recession, but still want to get out and have a little fun, Hebel said. She hopes to be able to provide it at Alley Katz.

Along those lines, one of the specials will be Buck-Fifty Night, which will probably be on Wednesdays. Patrons will just have to ask to find out what that’s about, she teased.

The phone number for Alley Katz will be 424-1700 and the website, when it’s done, will be
Germundson said Alley Katz will bring more vitality to the North Side. Across the streets are Kozy Korner Bar, 1402 N. Federal Ave., and the former Mugshotz Bar & Grill, 1401 N. Federal Avenue, which is under new ownership. The three will draw fun-seekers from a distance, Germundson said.

Mason City’s own “Barmuda Triangle?”

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