PHOTO BY SAM ZIEGLER
The Last of the Embers
“The first Embers Restaurant opened on East Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis in 1956, founded by longtime friends Carl Birnberg and Henry Kristal. Kristal and Birnberg hired a small staff and worked alternate shifts, pinch-hitting as cooks and servers and whatever role needed filling. The star of their menu was the quarter-pound Emberger –Charbroiled and brushed with their proprietary barbecue sauce – that went for 45 cents (60 if you added fries). Six months later, they opened a second spot off Ford Parkway in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul, and the concept took off” (Pagani, 2018).
In 1958, Joseph “Ricky” Rickenbach moved from Reading, Pennsylvania to Minneapolis after receiving a call from an old army buddy who invited him to work at a growing restaurant chain in Minnesota. Ricky began as a janitor and worked his way up the ladder until he became vice president of the corporation in 1980. Ricky’s son, Joe, got a job at the Northtown Embers in Blaine, “where he, too, worked his way up the ladder.” Joe met his wife Denise at the Anoka Embers and they eventually purchased the Fridley Embers together in 1998, renaming it Ricky’s Embers. It is now the last remaining Embers of the original chain. To learn more about the history of Ricky’s Embers, check out Susan Pagani’s article about Embers published in The Growler (2018). Click here to read article.
Location // 5400 Central Ave NE
Fridley, MN, 55421
Phone // 763-571-8637
Hours // 6am - 10pm Everyday
Our fresh 1/2 lb angus beef served with french fries