Many people from western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota regularly visit northern Wisconsin vacation areas. Growing up near Hayward, I have fond memories of some restaurants and taverns that sprang up in that part of the state after repeal of Prohibition in 1933.

Recently a friend suggested that we visit the Wheel Inn, a bar and grill I remember vividly because my mother and Aunt Stub, my father’s youngest sister, used to stop there for a “Shortie beer” and a visit with the owner. That was in the 1950s and, of course, there is a new owner today.

Diane and her husband who bought the place in the 1980s had the wisdom and taste to keep the Wheel Inn just as I remember it from nearly 70 years ago. My friend and I are both fully vaccinated against COVID-19, so we felt comfortable sitting down to a pizza and tap beer. 

I was particularly impressed by the social distancing practiced by the friendly folks who reminded me of my mom and aunt who loved the place since shortly after it opened its doors in 1937. Walking through those doors was like stepping into a time machine that takes one back to those friendly unpretentious German “Kneipe” or English “Pubs” (as natives call these intimate establishments serving food, drinks and friendliness). 

Hayward’s atmosphere and friendliness of a time gone by makes the stop one you will never forget.

Charles Rang

New Richmond

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