The desire to go into business for themselves, prompted Kevin and Tammi Mitchell to start TK Bar and Grill.
The Manawa residents were driving by the building that used to house Bases Loaded Bar in Manawa, when Kevin told his wife that they should check into purchasing the building.
“I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try it, something for ourselves,” Kevin said. “We talked it over and over and decided it’s what we wanted to do.”
That drive took place in early spring. Since that drive, the Mitchells purchased the building and opened TK Bar and Grill in mid-August.
The Mitchells are not strangers to the restaurant and bar industry. Tammi said she has been bartending and cooking for 20 years. And Kevin’s mother, Diane Wurtzel, owns the Crossings Bar and Supper Club. Wurtzel partnered with the Kevin and Tammi in opening TK Bar and Grill.
The location of TK Bar and Grill has had several owners over the past several years, but that didn’t scare the Mitchells away from fulfilling their dream.
“It was a little bit worrisome but we thought with maybe all the changes we were doing [we could make it successful],” Tammi said.
Tammi said prior to the grand opening in August, they made a lot of improvements to the facility. Some of the improvements were cosmetic, like cleaning and painting. Other improvements were more profound, such as remodeling the kitchen and redoing the floors.
They feel the biggest improvement they made was creating more light inside the building. Tammie said “it was always so dark” inside the building, so it was their goal to lighten it up.
“It looks way different than it has in the past,” Tammi said.
Tammi works at the bar and grill the majority of the time, while Kevin manages Spruce Lake Dairy in Manawa. Kevin said he usually works at the bar and grill late Friday nights, and Saturday nights, as well as when he can on Sundays.
Tammi joked that with their schedules, they don’t get to see each other too often.
When asked if her previous bartending and cooking experience has helped with transitioning to the owner of a bar and grill, Tammi said with a laugh, “It had prepared me a little bit for it.”
She added, “We didn’t go into this thinking it was going to be real easy and be fun and games. After 20 years you know [what it takes]. Yeah, you can have some fun, but it’s also a lot of work. We’re still learning day-by-day.”
They described business as “pretty good” so far.
“We are still finding out that people don’t even know that we are open,” Tammi said. “A lot of it has been word of mouth.”
Tammi said the amount of hours required to run the business has also been challenging, but it has been worth it so far.
“For so many years I’ve worked a lot of hours for everybody else,” Tammi said. “Everything we get from it comes from hard work and just wanting to make it work.”
Tammi said TK Bar and Grill is the type of place families can come and have supper at. They serve food until midnight, with the main offerings being burgers, wraps, sandwiches and fish fries.
To generate more excitement for TK Bar and Grill, the Mitchells plan on having live bands play once a month, and a DJ or Karaoke once a month. Their first band to play there will be Cottonmouth on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.
“We have a lighted dance floor,” Tammi said. “I don’t know of anybody around here who has a lighted dance floor.”
TK Bar and Grill is open Tuesday through Friday from 1 p.m. to close, and from 11 a.m. to close on Saturday and Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.