ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (FOX 9) - Known for bowling, drinks and great food, Park Tavern has been an institution in St. Louis Park for nearly 60 years. It's also been like a second home for Kristina Folkerts for her entire life.
"Snow days, school days... I was just so excited knowing I wouldn't be stuck at home and I got to come here and be with my mom," said Folkerts.
Kristina's mom, Lauralee, was a server at Park Tavern for decades, and was absolutely adored by both her customers and her co-workers.
"She was just amazing. She was just a rock. She was always so reliable, so loyal, so on point with everything she did," said owner Phil Weber.
The single mom preferred to work day shifts so she could be off when school was over. She also loved pink, so much so she was the only employee in the Tavern's history ever allowed to wear a pink uniform.
But in 2008, ovarian cancer stole Lauralee away from her family at work and at home.
"Another reason why this place is so special... They took really good care of her. They had a benefit for her when she was really sick," said Folkerts.
For a long time after her mom's death, it was hard for Folkerts to go back to the restaurant and bowling alley.
"Grieving is really weird. There are times that I would drive by and I don't know if I could handle coming in knowing so much had changed," said Folkerts.
After having children of her own, she needed something flexible, and her heart led her back to Park Tavern.
Now, Folkerts works alongside many of her mom's old co-workers and serves some of the same regulars, too.
Tucked in between notepads and pens, she always carries a photo of her mother working at the Tavern as she places orders in the same kitchen her mom did years ago.