Owner & President
The Uniqueness of our Food
At Whiskey Creek® Wood Fire Grill, quality and innovative cooking procedures create distinctive food for our guests. We have created our own proprietary seasonings, rubs, and sauces that give our food a unique and award winning flavor. Our food is also exceptional in the way we prepare it. We use some of the finest beef this country has to offer, and cook it over full sized logs of oak and ash, which makes eating with us a memorable experience! Cooking over a real wood fire grill, also allows the fat to cook away, creating leaner and healthier meals. It is the combination of fire, smoke and our proprietary seasonings that makes our food taste so good!
James Gardner began his career in foodservice when he was 15 years old in the family dining segment. For the next 4 years, he worked all of the hourly job positions from dishwasher to cook, server to Manager. At the age of 19, he became one of the company's youngest Franchisees. Over the next 25 years, Gardner developed 11 family restaurants in the States of Nebraska and Kansas, led the Franchise Advisory Committee, and served as a sub-territory Franchisor.
In 1985, Gardner and his wife, Susan led the development of Christian Heritage Broadcasting in Osakis, Minnesota. In just 4 months and 11 days, the ministry was able to build studios, hire staff, program, and sign "on air". The ministry, now known as Praise FM, has grown to 4 stations in Minnesota and South Dakota and has been heard on-line in more than 154 nations. To learn more, go to www.praisefm.org.
After opening his own Independent restaurants and getting into the hotel business, Gardner became the 2nd largest stockholder in Wild West, Inc. the parent company of Whiskey Creek®. Whiskey Creek® was founded in 1995 by Florida restaurateur Larry Terrell. Merchant's Capital Corporation was the primary stockholder and together with it's partners, moved Whiskey Creek® to the heart of beef country in Kearney, Nebraska in 1996. After 5 years as a major stockholder, Gardner purchased all of the outstanding stock in Wild West in 2001, and became the sole owner of Whiskey Creek® Wood Fire Grills.
Jim Gardner is excited about the future, even in the face of enormous challenges brought on by the financial melt down of 2008 and the ensuing recession. In July of 2008, Whiskey Creek® was named #27 of the Restaurant Business Magazine Future 50, fastest growing restaurant chains in America. While the company had it's "wings clipped", we continue to grow and prosper with a great team of Vendor Partners, Managers, Team Members, Franchisees and Corporate staff.
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