The history of the Nordic Inn begins with the reason for its existence. Steinarr was working as the chief Metrologist for the world leader in Biotechnology, in southern California, when he became sickened by 'Corporate America,' and what it stood for.
At this time he was on a low fat diet and cooked most everything he ate. His son, Tyson, suggested to him that with his cooking they should open a restaurant; and in searching for a way to escape 'Corporate America' this seemed to be the door out. Steinarr took Tyson's advice to heart and began his search into opening a restaurant, but found that only 20% of restaurants even survive.
[Nordic Inn Viking Inn Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Host] Shortly after this time, a page in the history of the Nordic Inn turned when Tyson joined the Simi Valley Vikings football team. With the coaching staff all ready picked, Steinarr decided to involve himself as the team's mascot, a Viking.
With this volunteer spirit into his son's activities, and being a serious fan of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, he seriously engaged himself into research into the Viking era, and medieval time, for his role as a Viking mascot. Throughout the year as the mascot for the Simi Valley Vikings, Steinarr endeavored to create several Viking outfits, and after the school's football season had ended, instead of packing them away in storage he decided to wear one at an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals.
Creating an outfit for his son, both Steinarr and Tyson showed up at the game in Viking wear. Throughout the game and after, as he and his son walked through the halls of the stadium, people cheered them on as they went by, some even ran after them to have their pictures taken with these two Vikings. Before the game was over, Steinarr had half of the stadium chanting for him to blow his horn. It was these events that Steinarr began to think that if people were getting this excited over a man and his son dressed and performing in Viking outfits, in Arizona, what would they do if he could recreate the Viking era in Minnesota?
[Nordic Inn Viking Inn Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Host]
His ideas started to flow, and he came up with the best idea. An ability to utilize his cooking talents, and his Viking interest. To create a Viking Bed and Breakfast.
Steinarr arrived in Crosby Minnesota (where his family lives close by), and begun his search for a building. Thats where he found an old Methodist Church building for sale. A perfect look for a Viking Inn.
With great hope he immediately went down to City Hall to find out who owned the building, and later, upon meeting her, they struck a deal in five minutes. And in that, the Nordic Inn was born.
On that same day, Steinarr petitioned a 'Conditional Use Permit,' from city hall, checking off the box on the government form, stating that this new business was going to be a 'Bed and Breakfast.' It looked like success was just around the corner for him, but like any success story, obstacles soon began appearing.
Steinarr was informed, the very next day, of a rumor around town that a lady was petitioning against his opening the Inn. Steinarr then immediately went door to door to all those who were in the voting district, and sat down with each person to show them exactly what he was going to build. After they talked he gave them his brochure and information, which called the Inn, a 'Brew and Bed.'
This caused a local panic. Steinarr then began going to the public hearings to present his plan, which was met, with one obstacle after another. At each meeting Steinarr would overcome an obstacle, only to have another arise. Going back and forth in the bureaucratic process still would not detour Steinarr from accomplishing his goal. You see, he had everything to lose.
[Nordic Inn Viking Inn Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Host] During the four months of public hearings Steinarr and Tyson lived in the old Methodist Church which had been vacant for over ten years and during the nights Steinarr would plan out everything that was needed for this old Church to become a Nordic Inn. Finally, when most of the obstacles were dealt with, the last one, like a fiery dragon arose declaring that the 'Brew and Bed' would not be accepted as long as 'Brew' was a part of the Inn. Steinarr immediately retracted his liquor license, and publicly declared 'Nordic Inn, as a Bed and Breakfast.'
It was approved, by a majority sigh.
With the project accepted, Steinarr went straight to work. Upon permission from their parents, he asked the neighborhood kids to come in everyday for a month to gut the place out. And they did, having a blast as they ripped apart the old building piece by piece. As this was happening he set up contractors to do some specific work for him. The first task was to raise the ceiling two feet, meaning that all the ceiling joists had to be cut and raised. This started to give reason for Steinarr's later Viking name, 'The Crazy Viking.'
[Nordic Inn Viking Inn Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Host] Steinarr continued the remodeling process with the contractors for another six months, through one of the coldest winters of the area with the temperature as far down as -60°F. It seemed that his dream was again just around the corner. The Inn was coming together quite quickly, with the goal set for the opening of the doors in the month of April. Steinarr was hard at work tying up loose ends as his mother helped by making all the shields and leather hangings for decor. It is important to note that without his mother, pictured at right on the spiral staircase leading to the Lookout room, the Nordic Inn would never have been truly complete. She has added to the Inn a mother's touch...Vikingly speaking, of course. Then fate dealt its final blow that would almost certainly doom his dream into oblivion.
An announcement by City Hall was made to Steinarr that as a 'Bed and Breakfast' he could not serve dinner, only breakfasts. This was a devastating blow to the nature of a medieval experience. Without a feast, there would be no reason for customers to stay. Going home shaken, but not stirred, he went to bed to think about how this obstacle could be overcome."What do people do when they stay in a hotel," Steinarr thought to himself. Then it hit him. People order pizza in a hotel room, and that is all right. What's the difference if he orders a pig instead of a pizza? Eureka!
The next day he called a caterer about a feast fit for Vikings. And the rest of that, as they say is history.
Steinarr's mother, JoAnn Gunderson, built the Viking shields displayed throughout the Inn and the period decorations that create the atmosphere for the Nordic Inn.
Next on his list, was a dinner theater. An interactive Viking show. In looking for ways of achieving this goal, he called down to the Central Lakes College in Brainerd to talk to the theater department, where he reached Patrick Spradlin, a theater director for CLC. Steinarr asked Patrick if he knew of anyone who could help in developing an interactive dinner theater performance for a Viking style feast. Patrick agreed to see what he could do.
[Nordic Inn Viking Inn Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Host] Patrick called on some of the alumni of the theater program and invited them all to visit the Nordic Inn. There they saw what was needed for the show and immediately begun developing a grand performance for the sake of the Inn's gracious guests.
Two weeks later, the show was ready.
The interactive dinner theater has been performed hundreds of times since it all began, and has developed nicely to fit in with just about any type of audience, and since the audience members are the main characters, its always a hit.
Two years have gone by, since the creation of a dream by a true Viking who refused to surrender. 'The Nordic Inn' is now a 'Brew and Bed,' and The Crazy Viking cooks up a feast fit only for Vikings.
Whenever asked if he's glad it's all done, Steinarr replies "This is just the beginning, my friend."