Grumpy#039;s new owners enjoy the community

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 10, 2002

Being the only Asian in Grand Meadow to manage a business is untested water for Somsy Xayaosa. His father, Bounmy Xayaosa is the new owner of Grumpy's Bar and Restaurant. The family is from St. Charles and they have lived in Minnesota for the past 20 years.

Somsy was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. He came to the United States with his mother, father and three siblings when he was two weeks old. When the family first arrived in the States, they lived in Philadelphia, Pa., and then they moved to Oakland, Calif.

Somsy explained how they ended up in southern Minnesota, "My parents wanted us to grow up in a small town. It was a huge change for them moving to America. We were from a rural village in Laos. They didn't even know what a flush toilet was. My parents heard about St. Charles from other Laotian refugees. We arrived in Minnesota in 1983, my mother had only $7 in her pocket."

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With hard work and determination the Xayaosa family saved up enough money to open the Laos Food Store in Rochester in 1984.

Besides running a specialty grocery store, Somsy's mother owned Asian Central Music, where she sold Asian music.

Somsy's parents worked long hours and the children watched out for each other. His sister, Sandy, was born in the United States and Somsy took care of her while his mother and father worked. When he graduated from high school, Somsy worked in management at Treasure Island Casino. He also went to training to get his insurance license to be an insurance agent.

"The day I mailed out my information to become an agent was when I found out my father was purchasing this business.

I knew that they couldn't run this place without me," Somsy said.

His parents had worked long hours, seven days a week since they made their home in Minnesota. Now Somsy will be doing the same. He is at Grumpy's every day, all day long. What motivates him to work so hard are his parents.

"My parents stuck it in my head that this is my business. People say I will get burnt out working such long hours, but if my parents could do it, so can I.

At first I really didn't want to come to Grand Meadow. I knew I was the only Asian running a business, but I have been well accepted. I have kept the same staff and I have the same manager, Lisa Reidemann. She's been here for three years and she does everything. I have been extremely impressed with our bartenders. We have a great staff," Somsy said.

The menu at Grumpy's has remained the same only now in the evening, Somsy's mother prepares Thai food, while the other chefs make more traditional American food. Grumpy's has a full bar, and has an on and off sale liquor license. They open at 11 a.m. seven days a week. Their kitchen is open until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and until 8 p.m. on Sundays. They have a ballroom that holds 450 people. The ballroom was booked a year in advance before the Xayaosa's purchased the business.

"Last weekend we had a Cambodian party here. They had traditional Cambodian music played by a live band. They sing in their language, Kham. We are having a Vietnamese party later this month," Somsy said.

Somsy and his family are getting to know Grand Meadow and the surrounding areas. They have been active in helping fund local charities and have sponsored a 4-H group.

The family will be changing the name of their business to the Oriental Farmer's Garden. Somsy said the name would reflect their roots in Laos, and the prairie where they now live.

Sheila Donnelly can be reached at 434-2233 or by e-mail at