A taste of up north in Kewaskum

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News Staff

Oct. 3, 2013

Bartender Traci Hansen of Hartford fills a drink Friday afternoon for a customer at Link’s Hideaway II in Kewaskum. The business opened in early August.
John Ehlke/Daily News Staff

KEWASKUM - The owners of Link’s Hideaway in Jackson, Rick Rosche and Mary Steege, weren’t looking to expand their business and open a new location until they came across an advertisement for a bar for lease in Kewaskum.

“Mary is the no person,” Rosche said of his business partner and significant other. “It’s always no, no, no. Mary read an ad ‘bar for lease in Kewaskum.’ I said we can put bartenders in there and make a living, so we came here.”

Rosche said they decided to give it a shot and opened Link’s Hideaway II, 215 Main St, in August .

What attracted Rosche and Steege to the bar was the decor. Steege said it’s an up-north look featuring exposed wood beams, a wood bar and hardwood floors. Not to mention the inside of Link’s Hideaway II resembles a cabin.

Steege said the owner was living in the back, but decided to move into assisted living in Sheboygan to be closer to her children.

“That gave us the opportunity to open the back area. It’s all dining,” Steege said. “There’s a sun room. It made it into a nice cozy establishment.”

Rosche said Link’s Hideaway II features burgers, sandwiches and a fish fry on Friday. It is famous for its burgers including the western burger, the original burger and the patty melt. Rosche said he will serve steak Saturdays in Kewaskum .

Rosche and Steege have 45 years of experience in the restaurant business between them, but opening a second location came with challenges.

“Oh my God, the hours,” Rosche said. “We were working 16 hours a day in Jackson together. Now we work 16 hours together and apart, so it’s 32 hours in a day for us.”

“It’s scary opening up a second location ‘cause you never know. There’s so many ‘what ifs,’” Rosche added. “Our biggest fear is we turn the lights on and unlock the door and nobody walks in.”

That hasn’t been the case because Rosche said the community response has been great and it was the customers who asked the owners to open near Kewaskum.

“We’ve been in our Jackson location for almost three years now and we get a lot of customers from this area ‘Why don’t you put a Link’s in West Bend, Kewaskum and Campbellsport. Just come up by us, we always have to drive to Jackson,’” Steege said.

“Because of all the people that came from Jackson to this area it gives you a good feeling that they are happy we are here. We did it for our customers in a sense,” Steege added.