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David Solner owner Buck Hill 2020
Photo by John Gessner Sun Thisweek News:


Buck ’54 Bar and Grill opens at Buck Hill October 2, 2020 by John Gessner:

Owner harbors vision for ski property

Anyone remember the Sports Bucket Restaurant at Buck Hill in Burnsville? Tucker’s? Or more recently, the Black Diamond Restaurant?

A new chapter in the 42-year history of dining and drinking at the ski and snowboard hill west of Interstate 35 opened on Sept. 22 with the Buck ’54 Bar and Grill.

It’s the creation of Buck Hill owner David Solner, who reclaimed the restaurant after the Black Diamond, which was leasing the space, closed in March because of the pandemic.

A large deck addition, Buck Hill memorabilia and specialty cocktails such as the Rope Tow and Slope Chaser are calling cards of the new restaurant, named for the year the ski slope opened.

It’s another step in Solner’s effort to fashion Buck Hill as a year-around entertainment destination after buying the business five years ago with former partner Don McClure and buying his share in 2018.

“We have a great following, a great legacy, with the skiing,” said Solner, an architect by trade who lives in Apple Valley. “But we are located in a beautiful kind of oasis in the middle of an urban environment. A lot of people who don’t ski never come out here.”

The restaurant is on the north end of the property on the second floor of the Buckstone Lodge, which also houses Buck Hill’s events center and ski school.

“The deck is really our big transformation,” Solner said. “It’s 20 feet wide and 70 feet long, and it connects to our existing deck. So we have plenty of capacity out there to expand and social distance.”

The deck alone will accommodate 175 at full capacity and fewer under socially distanced table spacing. Live music has been featured on the deck on Fridays and Saturdays.

It’s an all-weather deck facing south and west with generous sunlight exposure and a great view of the hill, Solner said.

“A lot of our skiers enjoy sitting outside no matter what because they’re dressed for it, but we will be adding some heaters as we get into the fall and winter,” he said.

Inside the Buck ’54, a trove of Buck Hill history — in the form of newspaper clippings, photos of longtime staff members and champion skiers, racing programs and other memorabilia — is preserved under a clear acrylic bar top.

“It’s something different as you’re sitting in a new location,” Solner said. “You get a different experience each time sitting at the bar and learn a little bit about the history of Buck Hill.”

The menu is casual American with weekly specials such as a Friday fish fry and Saturday night prime rib dinner, Solner said. And, of course, those specialty cocktails alongside beers, wines and other spirits.

“A lot of people that frequent here can understand what a Yard Sale is,” Solner said.

A new Buck Hill tradition under his ownership, the outdoor Buck Concert Series that was scheduled for June, was canceled because of the pandemic. Bands booked included Soul Asylum, and Solner had hoped to draw several thousand people. Plans are to resume the series next June 24-26.

Knowing Buck Hill’s aging complex of buildings must be eventually replaced, Solner harbors visions of a more diverse future for the business that might include hotel rooms, indoor training facilities and more banquet or restaurant space.

“The vision is to do something on top of the hill someday as well,” said Solner, who owns the business with his wife, Chip. “If you’re not a skier you may not have ever experienced the top of Buck Hill and what it has to offer, and if we could provide some type of facility up there to watch the sunsets — a restaurant, a deck — things like that up on top would be fantastic.”

David Solner owner Buck Hill 2020

Photo by John Gessner Sun Thisweek News:


Buck ’54 Bar and Grill opens at Buck Hill October 2, 2020 by John Gessner:

Owner harbors vision for ski property

Anyone remember the Sports Bucket Restaurant at Buck Hill in Burnsville? Tucker’s? Or more recently, the Black Diamond Restaurant?

A new chapter in the 42-year history of dining and drinking at the ski and snowboard hill west of Interstate 35 opened on Sept. 22 with the Buck ’54 Bar and Grill.

It’s the creation of Buck Hill owner David Solner, who reclaimed the restaurant after the Black Diamond, which was leasing the space, closed in March because of the pandemic.

A large deck addition, Buck Hill memorabilia and specialty cocktails such as the Rope Tow and Slope Chaser are calling cards of the new restaurant, named for the year the ski slope opened.

It’s another step in Solner’s effort to fashion Buck Hill as a year-around entertainment destination after buying the business five years ago with former partner Don McClure and buying his share in 2018.

“We have a great following, a great legacy, with the skiing,” said Solner, an architect by trade who lives in Apple Valley. “But we are located in a beautiful kind of oasis in the middle of an urban environment. A lot of people who don’t ski never come out here.”

The restaurant is on the north end of the property on the second floor of the Buckstone Lodge, which also houses Buck Hill’s events center and ski school.

“The deck is really our big transformation,” Solner said. “It’s 20 feet wide and 70 feet long, and it connects to our existing deck. So we have plenty of capacity out there to expand and social distance.”

The deck alone will accommodate 175 at full capacity and fewer under socially distanced table spacing. Live music has been featured on the deck on Fridays and Saturdays.

It’s an all-weather deck facing south and west with generous sunlight exposure and a great view of the hill, Solner said.

“A lot of our skiers enjoy sitting outside no matter what because they’re dressed for it, but we will be adding some heaters as we get into the fall and winter,” he said.

Inside the Buck ’54, a trove of Buck Hill history — in the form of newspaper clippings, photos of longtime staff members and champion skiers, racing programs and other memorabilia — is preserved under a clear acrylic bar top.

“It’s something different as you’re sitting in a new location,” Solner said. “You get a different experience each time sitting at the bar and learn a little bit about the history of Buck Hill.”

The menu is casual American with weekly specials such as a Friday fish fry and Saturday night prime rib dinner, Solner said. And, of course, those specialty cocktails alongside beers, wines and other spirits.

“A lot of people that frequent here can understand what a Yard Sale is,” Solner said.

A new Buck Hill tradition under his ownership, the outdoor Buck Concert Series that was scheduled for June, was canceled because of the pandemic. Bands booked included Soul Asylum, and Solner had hoped to draw several thousand people. Plans are to resume the series next June 24-26.

Knowing Buck Hill’s aging complex of buildings must be eventually replaced, Solner harbors visions of a more diverse future for the business that might include hotel rooms, indoor training facilities and more banquet or restaurant space.

“The vision is to do something on top of the hill someday as well,” said Solner, who owns the business with his wife, Chip. “If you’re not a skier you may not have ever experienced the top of Buck Hill and what it has to offer, and if we could provide some type of facility up there to watch the sunsets — a restaurant, a deck — things like that up on top would be fantastic.”

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