December 5, 2020 – West Bend, WI – The former home of Grasshopper Restaurant, 241 N. Main Street, in West Bend has sold and a new bar will be opening shortly.
Al Ulma purchased the property in March 31, 2009 along with two other parcels, 237 and 243 N. Main for $470,000. Ulma’s daughter Stefanie ran the Grasshopper restaurant from 2010 to December 2018.
The new owner, Robert Tracy Junior, 45, purchased the property December 2020. “I like the inside and the character of the wood, the fireplace, and the ceiling,” said Tracy.
Ulma had over 50 people call when the building was posted for sale.
“To him it was more about the right person and to see if they had a connection,” Tracy said. “Al and I just hit it off. We could have all kinds of conversations.”
Ulma still owns the building adjacent to the property.
Ulma and Tracy met several times over the past two months.
Tracy plans to have establishments in both sides of the business. “One will be a cowboy/western saloon theme and the other side will possibly be a martini lounge,” he said. “Maybe wine tasting … we’re still weighing different ideas.”
Tracy grew up in the Lebanon/Hustisford area. He currently makes his home in Columbus, WI. This is Tracy’s first bar/restaurant investment. “What really intrigued me about the property was the multi-family units above bar,” he said.
Chad Goeman is part of the Tracy team. Goeman also runs Collin’s Deck Bar on S. Main Street.
The name of the establishment is Saloon Royale. The target opening hinges on acquiring a liquor license.
Questioned whether the corner bar will also have food, Tracy said that was still up for discussion. “We don’t know if we want to do food but we’re open to the idea if we can find the right person and they could rent the kitchen and serve both sides of the building,” he said. “We’re open to soups and subs or burgers.”
A beverage menu is also still being determined.
Grasshopper opened in March 2010. It started as a cozy place to get high-quality food for breakfast and lunch in an atmosphere that was uber trendy with an old school Audrey Hepburn/Frank Sinatra flare. Since then it’s grown and morphed to a relaxed indoor library setting with a long bar yet the excellent food remains.
“I’m excited to do something else for West Bend that’s different than just this restaurant,” said Ulma. “One thing that will stay the same will be delivering to the customer the best of the best. It’s never been about the money it’s been about giving a great product to the people.”
Below is an article when the location was in flux in May 2009.
SALE OF ST. SOMEWHERE TURNED OVER TO COLDWELL BANKER..
Coldwell Banker real estate agent Wendy Coulter is now marketing St. Somewhere Café, which had been for sale by owner since last summer. Coulter took over the account at 243 N. Main in March. The property had previously been held by Citizens Bank and Leisure Investments. The business and equipment are priced at $79,900.
St. Somewhere Café owner John Dunton leased space in the building now owned by Ulma Investments LLC which purchased 237, 241 and 243 N. Main Street on March 31, 2009 for $470,000.
Coulter nor Dunton commented on a recent, May 4 decision by the West Bend Licensing Board which approved a reserve combination Class B liquor license for Ulma Investments LLC, Grasshopper & Café for 243 and 241 N. Main. The license comes with a Proof of Promise stipulation, which means the owner of the property “has to show they have the legal rights to the building.”
Dunton’s lease expires February 2010. Ruth-Anne’s Gourmet Market has already confirmed they are moving out of 241 N. Main and relocating to a larger storefront at 136 N. Main.
Coulter has had some slight interest in the business the past few months. Dunton is selling the business so he can retire.
On a history note: Can you name businesses that were also in that corner location off N. Main and Cedar Street. In the 1930s and 1940s Held Food Mart had three stores in West Bend. Harvey Held ran the store at 241 N. Main St.; it was also the Gonring Building.