A changing landscape on S. Main Street in West Bend as the Coachman House / Club Ten 06 was leveled today to make way for the new Forward Dental clinic.
The building, 1006 S. Main St., came down this afternoon, Wednesday, Sept. 30.
There was a time when the Coachman House was the place to be in West Bend. Below is a bit of history on the ole’ supper club and one of the owners Glenn Peterson.
There’s another change on the restaurant horizon in West Bend as the Coachman House undergoes a makeover.
Owner Meredith Immekus has temporarily closed the supper club at 1006 S. Main St. and will reopen next month possibly under a new name.
The Coachman House is a landmark restaurant in West Bend. Former owner Glenn Peterson recalled the supper club wasn’t the first eatery on the site.
In 1948 the location on South Main was home to Ott and Anne’s Custard. Later a couple sisters bought it and changed the name to Prudy’s Restaurant.
“They were a family restaurant known for their rotisserie chicken on Sundays,” said Peterson.
The restaurant had a counter with about 10 or 12 stools and there were three or four tables with two chairs a piece.
West Bender Jerry Mehring said he and his brother would go to Prudy’s regularly in the early 1960s when they were done with work around 11 p.m.
“The grill was right behind the counter so you could watch them fry your hamburger,” said Mehring. “They did big business with the Gehl Company serving lunch for the second shift.
“They would have the bags on the counter with the person’s name on it and what they ordered. I don’t remember who delivered them but one of the gals was married and her husband was always around he may have done the deliveries. He had a wooden leg,” recalled Mehring.
In 1969 Peterson bought the business. “My dad owned the A&W next door and when the gals running Prudy’s were going to retire, he said I should buy that building and run it as a restaurant.”
At the time, Peterson already had Glenn’s Grill and Restaurant on the north end of town; it was near the Clark service station, what is now West Bend’s Skate Park.
Peterson called the place on South Main Glenn’s Grill II; some in town referred to it as Glenn’s Other Place.
“Glenn’s Grill was the best place to eat for lunch,” said Lori Lynn-Radloff of West Bend. “My dad would pick me up from High School (the razed Badger Middle School). I remember the soda fountain was ice cold with no ice.”
Peterson ran the two Grills in conjunction for five years and then in May 1973 he remodeled the south-side location and changed the name to The Coachman House Supper Club.
“I just kind of thought I wanted to get out of the hamburger business and get into the supper-club business with steaks and dinner and cocktails,” he said.
Reflecting on the transition, Peterson struggled to remember how he came up with the name Coachman House.
“Somewhere along the line we always took vacations out west and the coachman was the name of different restaurants out there,” he said. “I liked the west and the wagons and that’s how it came about.”
Although Peterson retired in 1997 and sold the business he said that location will always be known as The Coachman House.
“It’s been that for almost 40 years,” he said. “We were really in prime time; we were running when the Outlet Mall came into business and there were no better-dining places in West Bend.”
Peterson recalled one upscale restaurant on the north end of Main Street, Hansen’s Steakhouse (formerly the Tasting’s Food & Spirits); run by Carl and Dolores Hansen.
“That place changed a lot too from the MP Club to Petri Steakhouse. Then Harvey and Mavis Schmidt ran it as the Schmitzelhaus,” said Peterson.
Later there were business owners Dave and Mary Ann Cross, Tom and Grace Kusick and the Cachet Club and then Brian and Geri Literski who ran Tastings Food and Spirits.
On the south end of town there were fast food restaurants including Long Boy Pizza and Subs, Emley’s Drive-In (currently Domino’s), Randy’s (currently Taco Bell), and the A&W (currently Jumbo’s).
“It was just a wonderful, wonderful time in business,” said Peterson. “I had excellent help for more than 30 years. I really miss it.”
In 1997 after Peterson retired he sold The Coachman House to Harry and Joanne Zimdars; in July 2011 Meredith Immekus took over.
Photos courtesy Matt Mehring.