Keeping it Casual Joe’s


Evan Halpop

A Casual Joe’s employee prepares the food as hungry customer’s look on.

Scout Springgate, Managing Editor

Casual Joe’s, a popular barbecue shop downtown, changed ownership over the summer months. Brett Buchanan and Mike Hudec purchased the restaurant in late July from the former owner, Tyler Sailbery, and hope to create a new vibe within the restaurant’s existing culture.

The three acquaintances ran into each other while out and made plans to discuss a business deal involving the ownership of Casual Joe’s. And two weeks later the paperwork was drawn up for transferring ownership.

After Causal Joe’s was officially in their hands, Buchanan and Hudec did not alter the items on the original menu, although they did add ribs and wood-fired pizza available on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Buchanan also owns Flying Cow Pizza, which is currently sharing amenities with Casual Joe’s. The pizza that they will offer is unique to the Whitewater scene due to how it is made.

“We’re the only one that’s wood-fired. The rest might be stone-fire, but not wood-fire,” said Buchanan. “The flavor you get out of a woodfired pizza oven is so different than any oven out there.”

In addition to the pizza that will be incorporated into Casual Joe’s, Buchanan and Hudec introduced the idea of getting a band to perform every Saturday in the restaurant’s banquet room to increase restaurant traffic.

“We get some bands that are local, but most are from the area,” said Buchanan. “I’ve got some from Milwaukee. One or two from Illinois.”

Buchanan and Hudec are going for a variety in order to satisfy every customer’s musical taste.

“Most of them are going to be like a country rock, bluesy rock, jazzy rock, you know, classic rock,” said Hudec.

In addition to not altering the original menu, the two also restored and incorporated a bar within the restaurant that serves local state beers, whiskeys, spirits and cocktails.

As for the future of the restaurants, Buchanan will continue to run Flying Cow Pizza, and Hudec will continue on with Casual Joe’s until their self-proclaimed ‘Pizza Season’ is over for the year in October. After that, the two will focus purely on Casual Joe’s.