Relaunch scheduled for May
By Angie Landsverk
The Waupaca Ale House is getting ready to unveil a new look in its bar and restaurant areas.
“We’re anticipating a Sunday, May 1, opening,” said Ryan Jacobson, who owns the business with his father, Duane (Jake) Jacobson.
The Jacobson family also owns the Comfort Suites at Foxfire next to the Waupaca Ale House.
They bought the hotel in 2007 and the restaurant and banquet facility in 2008. They opened Waupaca Ale House in 2009.
“My parents have been self employed for over 40 years, and this is their first restaurant,” Jacobson said. “My parents have been in the hotel business since the early 1990s.”
Jacobson joined them in 2004.
He said they recently sold two of the other hotels they owned to simplify life and concentrate on Waupaca.
In the past, they had a general manager for both the hotel and the restaurant.
With the sale of the two hotels, Jacobson will be the general manager here.
Following the birth of their daughter last year, he and his wife, Yulia, decided to build a house here and make Waupaca their home.
Jacobson said they want to keep their business in top condition.
“Feedback from our customers was saying the flow didn’t work well,” he said. “The bar needed to be remodeled. It was difficult to service a large number of people.”
The restaurant had design flaws, which needed to be corrected, he said.
“We were starting to think about it last summer,” Jacobson said of remodeling. “But we didn’t know how deep we wanted to go.”
On Jan. 1, they closed the restaurant and began preparing for the project, which is addressing a number of areas.
Those areas include storage for their food and beverages, the flow of the area and their beer system.
“We had a lot of problems with the beer system,” he said.
They learned there was a flow issue with the beer.
“We are installing the best 16-tap beer system available, and we are going to feature craft beers from around Wisconsin,” Jacobson said.
He said there will also be a new sound system and upgraded Internet.
The bar is remaining in the same area it was in but with a new shape and added service station to the back of the bar for the servers.
“We wanted to give the lounge area definition,” Jacobson said. “We will still have the long pub tables, but we’re also adding bucket chairs to give seating options.”
A wall was added back in to divide the dining area from the bar and lounge area. A service hallway was added as well for easy access to the kitchen from the lounge and bar area.
Other parts of the project include new flooring and paint, remodeled restrooms and a new point of sale system.
He said a bar and a point of sale system are also being added in the banquet area. “Point of sale will be in the tent as well,” Jacobson said.
The sales office is returning to its original location to give a more professional environment for those who are booking events with their sales team, Jacobson said.
He said architect Terry Martin and Liz Stange, of Stanges of Waupaca, provided design guidance.
“The building isn’t square,” Jacobson said. “We reopened the original design of the floor, which includes a lower level and built booths there to look out over the golf course.”
In addition, a new chef came on board in early March.
“He changed up our pizza a little bit,” Jacobson said. “We will keep our burgers, sandwiches.”
The chef also simplified their menu for both the restaurant and banquet side of the business.
“It makes it easier to train the staff and easier for inventory. You’re more consistent in your delivery of your product,” Jacobson said.
He describes the atmosphere at Waupaca Ale House as being a casual and upscale one.
“We’re hoping that we’re offering something that Waupaca doesn’t have,” Jacobson said. “We want to create special, unique events to give the community something to do.”
Increasing the Ale House’s atmosphere is what they sought in the remodeling project.
“In the industry, you’ve got to have good food, a good atmosphere and good service,” Jacobson said. “So we wanted to increase the atmosphere. We also wanted the lounge area to be a place to come in and have a glass of wine or beer and relax before dinner or have a conversation and a drink.”
About 50 people may be seated in the lounge area, about 25 at the bar and around 70 people in the dining area.