(Stillwater, MN, November 1, 2012) — For the fifth consecutive year, Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop, 131 Main St. S. in historic downtown Stillwater,  will honor Veterans and active-duty service personnel with a free meal on Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11 from 11AM-8PM.  This year, Leo’s hopes to serve free meals to over 600 Veterans because of the unique opportunity presented by the Stillwater Lift Bridge closure.    

“We asked and received permission to set up a large heated tent on Chestnut Street which will allow us the privilege to serve many more Veterans this year,” said restaurant co-owner Cory Buettner.  “The restaurant normally seats 50 people, and we will be able to seat another 100 people under the tent.”  Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop is named for Cory’s late father, Leo, a Veteran of World War II.

Inside Leo’s, Veterans can order anything from the normal menu.  Under the tent, the menu will be simplified, yet include classic burgers, fries and malts along with a blue plate turkey dinner.  No proof of Military service is required to receive a free meal.  “Some Veterans will offer their papers, but it is not necessary.  We take them on their honor,” said co-owner Naashom Buettner.

“In years past, we have spoken with some Veterans who returned from war and did not get the welcome home they deserved,”  said Buettner. “It is a privilege and honor to welcome the Veterans to our restaurant.  In the past we have served as many as 200 free meals, we hope to triple that this year.”

Another tradition will continue at 11:11 a.m. as local Veterans proceed from the Stillwater American Legion Post 48 through downtown Stillwater ending at the corner of Main St. and Chestnut, near the restaurant.  The Stillwater Police will halt traffic and the Color Guard will perform their traditional ceremony including a bugler performing “Taps”, a short prayer and a 21-gun salute.  The Washington County Historical Society will have an exhibit and a Stillwater Eagle Scout troop will display their collection of 13 different U.S. flags.   Water Street Inn, 101 Water Street, one block from Leo’s,  is offering Veterans overnight accommodatins for $11.11 on Sunday evening, November 11th.   Reservations may be made by calling 651-439-6000.    Volunteers helping at Leo’s is coordinated by Stillwater Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.

The Buettner’s welcome Wisconsin Veterans to join them,  and while the Stillwater Lift Bridge is closed for construction until mid-December,  hope they will remember to cross the river at I94 or in Osceola.