Mineshaft expanding to Oshkosh
Hartford location opened in 1975

By Joe VanDeLaarschot

Aug. 23, 2019

 This is an artistís rendering of what the Mineshaft Restaurant under construction in Oshkosh is expected to look like when construction is completed in about May.
Submitted rendering

HARTFORD ó The Mineshaft Restaurant in Hartford has been so successful that owner Tom Masters has been pondering an expansion of the business for several years, and that plan has now become a reality.

Officials from the company and the city of Oshkosh broke ground earlier this month on construction of a new Mineshaft building Aug. 1 at the former site of a Walmart store in Aviation Plaza.

The Hartford Mineshaft Restaurant at the corner of Highway 60 and Main Street, according to information from the company, is Wisconsinís largest restaurant and was established in 1975 with seating for more than 500 people. The Hartford location has expanded from the original site eight times over the last several years. Because of that, Masters decided it was time to add the second location in Oshkosh.

Keller Inc. will be the architect and general contractor on the new 35,000-square-foot building, which will include a restaurant, bar and family entertainment game room facility. The total value for the investment is over $16 million.

The building site is at the former Walmart and JC Penney site at 2041 S. Koeller Street adjacent to Interstate 41. The site has been partially vacant since 2003 when Walmart moved to a larger complex. Rogan Shoes still has business in one part of the mall there. The site is located very near the Experimental Aircraft Association grounds. The project is expected to take about nine months.

Connections between the company and business and community leaders in Oshkosh have been developing over several years because the restaurant caters for large events in the Oshkosh area such as Country USA and Rock USA. The new site is also located in the area of Target and Outlet Shoppes of Oshkosh, which Masters said makes it a prime location for attracting more businesses to the area with space remaining for other expansion in the future. Rogan Shoes will remain operating in the complex. The Oshkosh location will look and operate very much like the Hartford site.

The project became possible after the Oshkosh Common Council agreed to create a tax incremental financing district to finance the project. A TIF district uses additional property taxes generated within its borders through increased economic development to pay for building infrastructure such as sewer and water, stormwater management, roads, access to electricity and natural gas as well as other improvements needed to spur development. According to the Oshkosh ordinance used to create the TIF district, the TIF will pay about $1.7 million toward the projectís total cost of about $22.9 million. Other businesses will also located in the project once construction is complete.