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REAL ESTATE | Washington County, WI restaurant closed and listed for sale

January 5, 2023 – Hartford, Wi – A difficult day on the lake. “We are closed indefinitely,” said Dan Mueller, owner of Mueller’s Linden Inn. “It is what it is. Finding help has just gotten so difficult we just can’t sustain anymore.”


It was May 2018 when Mueller and his wife Peggy purchased Padway’s, 4919 State Road 144. The restaurant on the west side of Big Cedar Lake has been a fixture in the community for years.

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An announcement was made to staff last night. A large sign in the parking lot simply reads, “Closed.”

“I grew up in this community, which is part of the reason why we bought the restaurant,” said Mueller. “I know the history of the area. We’ve been here five years and between COVID and everything else it just got tough.

“The community has been great to us, absolutely great. We’ve made a lot of friends because of the restaurant that we will have forever.  The business was there, the help was not.”


The restaurant is going on the market next week.

On a history note:

May 1, 2018 – Big Cedar Lake, WI – Padway’s on Big Cedar Lake has been sold. Dan and Peggy Mueller, closed on the purchase of the restaurant, 4919 State Road 144, on Monday.

Feb. 24, 2017 – Big Cedar Lake, WI – Padway’s on Big Cedar Lake is for sale. Shorewest has the listing for 4919 State Road 144, West Bend.  Current owner Joe Weinshel closed on the purchase of the old Wegner’s Cedar Lake Inn in August 2014 when the asking price was $1 million. The current asking price (2017) is $795,000.


In August 2014 an article in Around the Bend ran about the purchase of the former Linden Inn by Joe Weinshel.

AROUND THE BEND       August 2, 2014                                                 By JUDY STEFFES

Old Linden Inn changes to Padway’s on Big Cedar Lake

A lakeside restaurant that’s been an institution for over 50 years on Big Cedar Lake has a new owner.

Joe Weinshel closed on the purchase of the old Wegner’s Cedar Lake Inn, 4919 State Road 144 in Hartford.  The asking price was $1 million; he sealed the deal at $725,000.

“When I was a kid, I told my mom I was going to own this place,” said Weinshel. “That was back in the 1950s when it was really nice and called the Linden Inn.”

Now, at age 67 Weinshel has followed through. “I’m calling it Padway’s on Big Cedar Lake; Padway was my mom’s maiden name,” Weinshel said.

In an effort to bring the restaurant back to the day when it had really excellent food, Weinshel has hired chefs Brian Bellehumeur and Luis Mendez.

“The menu is going to be Americana supper club,” Bellehumeur said. “You know old is new again and we’re going to update the old and also have an emphasis on farm to table and working with local vendors.”

Bellehumeur’s afternoon schedule included visiting Held’s Meats in Slinger to see if he could get their bacon on the restaurant menu. “Padway’s is not just about throwing food on the table – we want to be part of the community and help promote others.”

Memories of the food at the old supper club resonate with locals along the lake. Back in the day when Dick Peel owned the Linden Inn neighbors remember the key lime pie, the brandy sauce sundae or the skipper sundae made with a scoop of ice cream, waffle cone, two chocolate chip eyes and a cherry nose.

“The biggest change people will notice with our menu is that nothing comes out of a box, nothing comes out of a jar, we make everything in house which means a freshness and higher quality,” said Brian Bellehumeur.

“We’re going to have customers that are millionaires, and we’ll have people on a budget and my challenge is to appeal to these tastes without alienating anyone,” said Brian Bellehumeur.

Amy Bellehumeur, who recently worked at Timmer’s, is the manager at Padway’s. “She’s the every man’s Rachael Ray,” said Brian Bellehumeur touting his aunt as a solid manager who can handle staff, ordering, and maintain customer satisfaction.

Currently Weinshel and his staff are busy cleaning and painting the roughly 10,000-square-foot restaurant and bar. An invitation-only opening will be held August 14 with the grand opening set for Friday, August 15.

“In the meantime, we have our outdoor tiki bar open every day from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and starting at noon on the weekends,” Weinshel said. “We have some tents, barstools and throw in some booze and burgers and it’s overlooking the lake; people are loving it and the tiki bar will be rockin’ every day until the restaurant is open.”

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Wendy Wendorf


  1. I’m so sorry to hear this! Did you try coordinating with UW for students to do internships at the restsursnt as part of a food service management program?

  2. Unfortunately a lot of restaurants are closing due to these reasons. The sad thing is the pay is horrible, the hours worse, and the state of current customers is nasty. When you can work at Qwik Trip for $22 an hour and not have to deal with rude people all day long… And get insurance and paid vacation…. It’s no wonder no one wants to work in the food industry anymore. People learned during covid that you don’t need to be a slave to your job. You the employee sets the rules. Most service jobs are facing the same problems. We the employees have spoken. Pay us well or don’t have us at all.

    • Yes Mike obviously you have owned a restaurant. Most positions at a restaurant are designed for start up jobs for employees. Dishwashers, waitresses, hostesses, ect. With the exception of cooks and bartenders you possibly can’t pay these other positions $22 an hour along with all the benefits you listed. If you did along with the inflation we are seeing today, enjoy paying $75 for a steak! By the way it’s not just the restaurant industry hurting for employees, it is almost every business right now. I believe it is more about people not wanting to work more than anything. Where are all the high school kids? Sitting on the couch playing video games while mom and dad pay their bills. Figure it out!

  3. WOW !!! What a shame. I was parking cars there when it was the class restaurant in Washington County. It was then owned by Dick Peel and family. I watched the original Linden Inn burn down from the ice on Big Cedar Lake and the new one was open within a year. Always well run in those days and a fun place to go.

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