Boat appetit!
Eric’s Hand Tossed Pizzas & Subs delivery leaves others
in its wake

By Josh Perttunen - Enterprise Staff

June 26, 2014

Eric Hasler, left, and his father, Rick, talk shop on the Eric's Hand Tossed Pizza delivery boat on Okauchee Lake. The pair make deliveries to boats on the water and even to piers, provided the person who orders has a cell phone on hand.
Matt Masterson/Enterprise Staff

TOWN OF OCONOMOWOC - It’s the weekend and an unconventional call for pizza delivery comes into Eric’s Hand Tossed Pizzas and Subs in the Town of Oconomowoc.

Just moments after slicing through the pepperoni pizza that was ordered, the dish is then hurried to the public launch on Okauchee Lake, where a boat is waiting to deliver it the rest of the way.

Restaurant owner Eric Hasler is encouraging this scenario to play out every weekend this summer - and hopes that his newest idea to deliver pizzas and other menu items out to boaters on the lake continues to make waves in the community.

“I was hesitant at first, when my father Rick brought the idea to me,” Hasler conceded. “But, as I started talking to everyone who lived on the lake, they said that this was an idea that has been talked about for years. It’s just that no one has ever done it.”

Rick Hasler looks on from the deck of the Eric's Hand Tossed Pizza delivery boat on Okauchee Lake. Rick makes deliveries to spots across the lake on Saturdays and Sundays. 
Matt Masterson/Enterprise Staff

Part of the challenge other restaurants had was that no food may be prepared on the delivery boat. Pizza, though, Eric Hasler said, has a tradition of being delivered piping hot from the restaurant to wherever a customer may be. Deliveries via boat should take the same amount of time as delivering via automobile, he said, with a 30-minute to hour-long window.  

The bulk of deliveries will be to locations in Stumpy Bay, Icehouse Bay and to boats tied up at Party Island, said Eric’s brother Justin Hasler. 

Weather hasn’t been cooperative in the four weekends the service has been offered, but the brothers said they expect business to pick up as the sun breaks through the gloom.

“Our first weekend was the busiest,” Justin Hasler said. “We’ve been waiting for summer to actually kick in.”

Rick Hasler literally gets to be the driving force behind the pizza-by-boat idea, as he is the permanent captain of the boat.

“He likes it,” Justin Hasler. “It gives him an excuse to be on the water every weekend.”

The hardest part of putting the idea into practice? Eric Hasler said that would be finding the appropriate vessel.

“Finding a boat was the biggest challenge. We needed a boat that rides flat like a pontoon, but has the speed to get food there as quick as it can.”

There has been one order at least every week, allowing the Haslers to refine their process.

“Customers think it’s really cool,” Eric Hasler added. “When they have been hungry in the past, they have had to park their boat, dock it, put on shoes and a shirt, corral children and then make it to the restaurant. This is just convenient.”