Wagon Wheel Cafe in Mankato to Continue 65-Year Legacy in Community

Wagon Wheel Cafe from YouTube Screenshot

Photo: Screenshot of Wagon Wheel Cafe photo by John Cross from his book featured on Blue Earth County Historical Society YouTube video.
The Wagon Wheel Cafe in Mankato has been sold to an undisclosed buyer, according to reports. There is now a sold sign from the realty company that handled the transaction on behalf of former owner Kevin Haefner, who also managed residential living space within the same building as the historic cafe.

The Wagon Wheel Cafe in Mankato has long been a staple of the downtown Mankato vibe of the old part of the city. Even as downtown revitalization had turned the mostly young and nefarious reputation of the downtown nightlife area into a chic vision of a modern downtown with yuppie business suit types, tall glass office buildings, parking ramps, an all new enclosed type of bar area street zone (likely more helpful for local police who are tasked with keeping order down there) and enhancements to the new AND old restaurants, bars and clubs downtown; the Wagon Wheel held its own unique historic identity and legacy, where goths, hipsters, dopers, geeks, working young adults and college kids ate in a cramped old school diner environment alongside city workers, old timers and the elderly coffee and newspaper crowd.

In fact, Free Press Senior Photographer and Minnesota State University, Mankato photojournalism professor John Cross produced and published a photojournalistic book about the appeal, history and cohesion this little downtown cafe has brought to the community. He told the story visually, through several photographs and original stories from the community. The Blue Earth County Historical Society held a discussion about the book with John Cross. See the following video.

As part of the sale, the new owner will reportedly keep the Wagon Wheel Cafe name for the local diner in Mankato, a condition of the sale made by Haefner, who recently underwent surgery on his stents, according to local reports.