Biz Buzz: Baxter Cafe to become Ippin Ramen & Sushi

Michaels hosts soft opening.

Exterior of Baxter Cafe on a sunny winter day
Ippin Ramen & Sushi is opening in the former Baxter Cafe. The new restaurant is expected to open soon after remodeling. The longtime Baxter Cafe restaurant, once Country Kitchen, closed Monday, March 20, 2023.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — For those having lunch at Baxter Cafe on Sunday, March 19, the news that the restaurant was sold and would be closed for remodeling may have come as a surprise.

The longtime Fairview Road restaurant, once the Country Kitchen, has been owned by Kevin and Marilyn Stumpf.

They announced the change on Facebook, stating, “We want to thank all our loyal guests for 29 years. We have sold the restaurant. It will be closed during remodeling. Look for the ippin Ramon Sushi restaurant.”

A sign in the door of Baxter Cafe announces the closing.
Baxter Cafe is closed with a new restaurant slated to move in after remodeling. The cafe's last day was Monday, March 20, 2023, the first day of spring.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

Ippin Ramen has a restaurant in Waite Park and the Baxter restaurant would be an expansion. According to the Ippin Ramen online menu, the restaurant offers authentic Japanese noodle soups, and includes appetizers such as dumplings and fried minced octopus, pork and chicken, as well as rice and noodle dishes and dessert.

Noodle dishes include Yaki Soba with Japanese stir-fried light wheat noodles with vegetables, chicken, shrimp or beef. There are a host of ways to experience the ramen dishes with pork, shrimp, beef, bok choy, egg, grilled chicken, along with a variety of broths — seafood, soybased, miso, chicken and pork. Besides Yaki Soba, the noodle dishes include Yaki Udon and Classic Pad Thai.


It will be a significant change from the menu at the Baxter Cafe, which was known for its pancakes and other signature breakfast dishes with eggs and hashbrowns, omelets and skillets, as well as burgers and meals like meatloaf and mashed potatoes and country fried steak.

The Stumpfs have been behind the restaurant from its Country Kitchen days to the move away from the franchise to their own Baxter Cafe and Catering business. In 2019, a year after severing ties with Country Kitchen, Kevin Stumpf said they were able to expand their basic menu into a more robust one.

More recently, Kevin Stumpf and attorney John Raboin were also behind the Full Tummies-Weekend Edition meals assistance program during the height of the pandemic so students could receive two bagged lunch meals for the weekend and pick them up at the restaurant.

Michaels hosted a soft opening ahead of its anticipated March 24 opening and has been attracting shoppers looking to get an early look at the new arts and crafts store in Baxter. Prior to the opening, the building was encased in sheeting to allow fresh paint to be applied.

A coffee and novelty store is moving in the Westgate Mall.

A crane uses a large sling to remove snow from the Kohl's roof on a sunny winter day.
A crane uses a large sling to remove snow from the Kohl's roof Sunday, March 19, 2023, as an indicator, if another is needed, of just how snowy this season has been.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

Lakes area retailers, including Kohl’s, recently had crews up on their roofs removing snow. Kohl’s had a crane and a large sling moving snow from the rooftop to the ground March 19. We’ll see if the last heavy, wet snowfall, which clogged snowblower chutes, was the last of the season. Looking at this year, that seems doubtful. On the plus side for those who like being in the record books, the latest snowfall moved this winter season up on the list.

RENEE RICHARDSON, Brainerd Dispatch managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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