Edina, Minn., May 4, 2022 – The transformation of a former gas station into a destination restaurant has been recognized with the 2022 Edina Heritage Award. Town Hall Station, a restaurant that opened in 2016 on the site of Wally’s Service Station, has preserved a historic outpost of the community as a neighborhood social hub.
“Restoring an historic resource -- a building -- versus tearing it down can be a complicated and sometimes costly endeavor,” said Heritage Preservation Commission Chair Annie Schilling. “Those who choose to transform an historic resource into a gathering place for community are worthy of recognition. In this case, the entire originality of the building was kept with a nod to the building’s past.”
At the corner of Valley View Road and Wooddale Avenue, Wally Grothe’s gas station and repair shop served the Concord and Pamela Park neighborhoods and beyond for more than 60 years. Opened in 1953, the station shut down in 2014. Two years later, the team behind the Town Hall Brewery and two other restaurants in Minneapolis took over the site and embarked on an extensive preservation and renovation.
In partnership with Shea Design and Pat Dorn Construction, they transformed a 2,000-square-foot space, adding a commercial kitchen and 640-square-foot three-season porch that is accessed through garage doors. Additional historical touches include the iconic sign showing the price of gas, as well as a refurbished bar salvaged from a small town in central Illinois.
Much of the restaurant’s customer base arrives via bike or on foot, helping limit the environmental impact and carbon emissions that otherwise is associated with new construction.
“Shea really enjoyed taking on the preservation and transformation of Wally's,” said Senior Architect Breana Detzler. “So often today, buildings are torn down, and we lose the magic of historic structures. Being part of turning this old gas station into what's become a beloved neighborhood restaurant was so rewarding.”
To learn more about the Heritage Award, including past winners, visit EdinaMN.gov/HeritageAward.