Papa Stache serves up personality on a plate
Old-time bar gets new life in Big Bend

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

June 30, 2017

 A Twin Peaks Skillet waits to be served at Papa Stache Pub & Eatery as Chef Phil Bischoff works on another dish in the background.
Katherine Michalets/Freeman Staff

BIG BEND - Just like Ralph Llanas has his own style, so does his restaurant and bar Papa Stache Pub & Eatery on Big Bend Drive.

Since buying and opening the business almost three years ago, Llanas has redone the interior of the longtime bar by adding wood paneling to the side from an old pasture fence found on his property to a whole new kitchen in the basement.

Throughout the building at W228-S9300 Big Bend Drive, there are themes, such as the old-timey look to reflect the tucked away bar that Llanas found in the basement, which he believes at one point was used as an after-hours, speakeasy sort of bar. There's also moustaches.

The name Papa Stache came from Llanas's nickname given him by a friend of one of his kids years ago. He said sometimes they'd struggle to say Mr. and Mrs. Llanas so one day he was called Papa Stache and it stuck.

"I always remembered that. I thought it was cute," he said.

The Big Sexy Burger at Papa Stache is topped with bacon, Swiss, cheddar, jack cheese, jalapeno, jack straw onions, and signature Big Sexy Sauce on a toasted bun.
Katherine Michalets/Freeman Staff

Several years ago when Llanas and his wife, Dr. Mary Llanas, found themselves empty-nesters, he started to look for a new opportunity. With his real estate broker hat on, Llanas said he decided to purchase the restaurant property that had been a tavern since about 1925.

He said he loved the location on 13 acres that included Mill Pond.

"I wanted to give the Big Bend community something they could enjoy," he said.

While Llanas has already renovated the interior and parts of the exterior, he just recently put in a new parking lot that expands from 15 to 20 spaces to 84 spaces. He wants to bring back weddings and special events to the space, which includes a grassy area along the pond. In that area, there are already picnic tables and a place for bonfires. People even cast their fishing lines from the shore.

Papa Stache Pub & Eatery reflects the nickname owner Ralph Llanas was given by one of his kidsí childhood friends.
Katherine Michalets/Freeman Staff

Upscale menu, local ingredients

When it came to creating a menu, Llanas was inspired by what he loves to cook at home and assembled dishes that have an upscale pub food vibe with local ingredients. The menu includes the Big Sexy Burger that is topped with bacon, Swiss, cheddar, jack cheese, jalapeno, jack straw onions, and signature Big Sexy Sauce on a toasted bun. There's also the Skillet Mac & Cheese with three cheese pasta loaded in a packed skillet with andouille sausage and bacon, then baked to golden perfection. The menu also includes salads, pizza and appetizers, such as the Little Italy, which is house-made fries loaded with sauteed garlic pepperoni, marinara, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and topped with a balsamic glaze.

Going forward, Llanas has many little and big things he'd like to do for Papa Stache, including adding a wine night and a hitching post outside for horses. (He has even been known to ride his horse three miles from his Muskego home to work.) For those with furry four-legged companions, a kennel is already set up outside.

"It's a great place to unwind and grab some food," Llanas said.

Papa Stache Pub & Eatery is located on 13 acres that include Mill Pond at W228-S9300 Big Bend Drive.
Katherine Michalets/Freeman Staff

It's also a welcoming place for veterans, law enforcement and others who serve the community, he said, adding he likes to support community events and groups.

In just a few years, Llanas said, Papa Stache has grown faster than he had thought it would and he has had to increase the staff from four to 18 employees.

But ultimately, he's enjoying bringing happiness to the community.

"Some of the old-timers missed how much fun it used to be and are enjoying it again," he said of the old tavern.
 

At a glance

What: Papa Stache Pub & Eatery
Where: W228-S9300 Big Bend Drive, Big Bend
Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to bar time weekends
Info: www.papa-stache.com, www.facebook.com/pg/papastachebigbend, 262-662-9950

Email: kmichalets@conleynet.com