Episode 5: Root Beer, 120 Pounds of Sugar and G-d

Episode 5 features an intense discussion with Wade Vitalis - longtime owner of the Drive-In Restaurant in Taylors Falls MN. Wade and I have been friends for 22 years, and through his example I’ve learned a great deal about being a good man, a good husband, a good father and a moral businessman.

A pensive Wade Vitalis at his kitchen table

We recorded our discussion of root beer, hand-packed burgers - and life after losing a child - at the kitchen table of Wade’s home that he shares with his awesome wife, Carol. Their homestead along the St. Croix River has been in the Vitalis family for several generations - and it’s where they raised their three children Alex, Gwen and Peter.

Wade shares the full experience of deep pain, of a marriage strengthened by the sudden loss of their son Alex at age 20, and about running a seasonal restaurant whose employees are nearly all teenagers, including all three of the Vitalis offspring. Wade also talks about his need to redefine Christianity, including the wilderness church he has started hosting, on his family land along the St. Croix River.

After you listen to this episode, I encourage you to hear what happened when we put away the recording equipment.... In typical Minnesota fashion, we keep talking, and I quickly realized that we were on to something big again. So with my iPhone on the table, I recorded Moral Money's first ever “bonus episode,” posted as Episode 6...

If you’re looking to learn more about the Drive-In Restaurant, one of my favorite episodes of the “Goin’ To The Lake” series with WCCO TV’s Jason DeRusha and Matt Brickman features Wade and the full Drive-In atmosphere. Check it out!

Jeremy Kalin