Rick’s Eastside Pub & Grill wins best bar honor

Dylan Piccolo, Staff Reporter

In a college town, the best bar is often the one where good alcoholic drinks are the main feature.

It’s actually quite the contrary here in Whitewater. For the 2019 Best of Whitewater edition, the best bar winner is Rick’s Eastside Pub and Grill.

Rick’s has been a staple of the Whitewater community since 1988.

Owners Rick and Elle Hartman first started the business when Rick, a manager at a local golf course at the time, was asked to become the manager at a local pub.

When Rick presented the idea to his wife Elle, she told him he might as well start his own bar, and the idea took off.

They were able to plant roots in Whitewater at the original spot and became a landmark in the community before moving in 2002 to their current location on 561 E Milwaukee St.

Rick’s started out as just a bar at first, but as time moved on Rick and Elle knew they needed to implement a sustainable food program to continue their success in the industry.

“With the times changing, we expanded our menu and our kitchen because I could see that food was the way to go to make ends meet,” said Rick.

Since then, they have built an experience that is appreciated by locals. Rick’s is a welcoming environment which will tantalize you with drink specials and keep you staying with their wide variety of tasty food options and fantastic customer service.

“When our door opens it doesn’t matter if it’s a student, a local or a person from out of town. They get treated with the highest respect and the best service,” said Rick.

Keeping customers happy is the main focus of the owners and is the driving force in retaining and acquiring customers. With a diverse population in Whitewater between students and residents, Rick and Elle know that it is important to have a similarly diverse promotional scheme that will bring different people into the pub and grill.

“Rick’s has awesome food and is the place to be for bloody mary’s on the weekend,” said Christopher Runjo, a UW-Whitewater alum. “No matter who you are, you feel comfortable and are taken care of by the staff.”

Some of their most popular specials are Taco Tuesday and Friday Fish Fry. They hold events such as their winter bean bag tournament in February, which had 25 teams.

While the menu has their signature items such as burgers and cocktails, the menu is constantly rotating as they develop new food and implement different drinks and craft beers in hopes of continuing their success and retaining their crown as the Best of Whitewater’s best bar.

Rick’s Eastside opens at 10 a.m. Monday through Thursday and at 11 a.m. on Sunday.