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We won't send a ton of junk, just the good stuff.
Lindner brings high-quality food and beverages with his four unique venues in Grand Island
Humble, down-to-earth, inspiring and dedicated are just a few of the words people use to describe Open for Business’ first Entrepreneur Extraordinaire, Brent Lindner of Grand Island. When we asked Lindner what makes him a successful business owner, he gave a chuckle and a shrug replying he didn’t realize he had reached that milestone. He just knows that he likes what he does.
However, the community will agree that Lindner, owner of four successful food and beverage businesses in the heart of Grand Island has become a pillar of stability and mindful service for the local business district.
Lindner grew up in the Grand Island area. After high school he moved west to Southern California and began working in the food and bar industry. He learned from some of the best people. They were creating new movements in the restaurant scene.
He followed one mentor Down Under to Australia and assisted with the launch of the Red Onion in Sydney. After two years in Australia, he decided to trade in his surf board and beach lifestyle and returned home to Grand Island. He attended Hastings College, earning a degree in business.
Lindner drew upon his previous work experience and his new education to identify a void in the Grand Island area. The restaurant landscape of Grand Island was littered with chain-food establishments and sports bars. Lindner related to the population of people who wanted good food and a relaxing place to enjoy a good drink. Knowing he could provide these things, he began filling that need by purchasing and opening several restaurants and bars: Glass Bar (1996), Balz (1997, sold out in 2000), Wave Pizza Company (2000), J Alfred Prufrocks (2000) and Sin City Grill (2011).
Lindner approaches each business project with the desire for perfection. He admits this has been one of the biggest challenges in his career.
“Keeping my costs in line has been a challenge. Every project I have done is over budget. This is mostly my fault in that I don’t feel I can open a place and say, ‘Hey come to my place. Look at all we have done, oh, but sorry for the crappy furniture or one room isn’t done quite yet,’” he said. “I have to have most of it done or I’ll go crazy. It might be more a challenge for my banker, as he’s trying to keep up with me and make sure I don’t go to crazy.”
Lindner’s entertainment venues are unique and each have their own special feel. From the VW van parked inside the SoCal beach-inspired Wave Pizza Company to the velvet settee and art-deco lights of Sin City Grill, reflective of the Rat-Pack era Las Vegas. Lindner isn’t just selling great food and beverages, but an experience.
When we presented him with the Open for Business Golden Brick, he treated us to some of the best burgers we have ever had. As a customer passed by on her way out, she stopped to say goodbye and thank Lindner, not uncommon at all as this happened several times while we were there.
She said to us that Brent serves the best food in town.
Lindner uses the highest quality products and that is something he said, “I won’t compromise.”
At all of his locations, he insists on the best resources for food supplies. He realizes every dollar counts to customers and when they decide to spend their money at one of his establishments, it is paramount they know they are getting a good, satisfying meal worth their hard-earned money.
Lindner got his work ethic from his parents who set the standard. Each day he is inspired by his wife, Michelle, who pushes him to be “kick-ass” in everything that he does. They have two children, Sydney and Cole, who are his motivation to keep going even when the restaurant and bar business gets tough.
Lindner told us one of the biggest rewards of being an entrepreneur in Grand Island is the people that he has met and befriended.
“Grand Island has some absolutely amazing people. The relationships I have established here are worth more than gold. I wouldn’t trade the friendships for anything. There are some very smart and dedicated people that keep Grand Island on the map. I’m just honored to be a small part of it,” he said.
As a business owner, Lindner has grown and gained a lot of knowledge along the way. When he has an idea, he researches in order to know as much as possible before he makes a move.
Lindner has learned the importance of empowering the people around him. He employs approximately 50 people and feels that they are some of the best around. They stick with him and he allows them to be who they are and to do their job well.
He says it is a balance every day, but he knows the value of setting an example by working hard himself. This allowed him to create a team and to know he has taught others well. They are capable of making good decisions when they are challenged at work.
“I love working for Brent. I can be myself here and with the customers. He takes really good care of us. Brent is cool. He looks out for us and makes sure we are happy,” said Savvy Calhoun, employee at Sin City.
Lindner is also involved with his community by sponsoring teams and working with organizations.
Brent’s tip for other business people: “Have a solid plan, but be flexible with it. Stick to it and be passionate about it for the right reasons.”
Catch a glimpse of Lindner's Grand Island businesses
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