OPOLE -- Small towns in Stearns County are known for two things, a beautiful church and a bar. For the town of Opole it's the local watering hole residents are raising a glass to.

Just off of County Road 17,  stands a bar that acts as the heart of the city.

"My grandpa and his brother bought this place in 1926," says owner John Bialka.

Bialka's Bar has been the cornerstone of this quiet town for the last 90-years.

"We're kinda like the post office because there is usually somebody here," says Bialka.

John is the third generation to run the bar, following the footsteps of his grandpa, father and brother who ran the bar before him.

John Bialka talks about the bar's history. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky)

He says his grandpa originally opened Bialka's as a trading post.

"My grandpa started out selling cars, tractors and the whole works here back in the days," says Bialka.

It was after the prohibition the store was converted into a bar. However, Bialka says his family couldn't walk away from the convenience and still operate it today.

"It's a dying breed, and is it really worth keeping it open? It's still convenient for some of the local residents. So we keep it running," says Bialka.

Along with the bar and convenience store, Bialka's still has a working gas pump outside for passing travelers.

Bialka says though the town may small, it's the people who walk through the door that make Bialka's Bar feel larger than life.

 

(Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)