Never underestimate the power of hometown pride.
In the case of James Weimann, it was strong enough to open a bar.
On Sept. 8, the Wisconsin native officially opens the doors at Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern — a tribute to his home state, inspired by his hometown and family.
Weimann grew up in Sheboygan, Wisc., where he worked at a bar and learned to love fish fries and the Packers. His dad, Wally Weimann, was one of 12 children, boxed for a number of years and was stationed in Germany during his time in Army. Now, he has a bar named for him in Denver.
The way James Weimann tells it, that last part came as a surprise.
“My dad looked at me a said, ‘Oh boy, that sure sounds different,'” Weimann said, laying the Wisconsin accent on thick.
Aside from its location, Wally’s is Wisconsin through and through. The 1,800-square-foot, 100-seat space was designed to feel like a 1970s lake tavern, complete with wood paneling, deer heads and old arcade games.
And of course everything they serve goes with it. Menu items include Wisconsin cheese curds, a butter burger, a soft pretzel, bratwurst and fried fish.
“Fried fish nights are a staple of the cuisine and the way people socialize in the midwest,” Weimann said, remembering how Friday night crowds at the bar in Sheboygan would more than double in size.
The bar’s eight taps feature Midwestern brewers, including Destihl and New Holland, and the cocktail menu offers variations on the Old Fashioned, the cocktail of Wisconsin.
Wally’s is also planning Love Thy Neighbor nights, when they’ll offer comfort food to transplants from Michigan and Minnesota (think coney dogs and hot dish casserole).
Weimann joined Rhein Haus partners Deming Maclise, Rich Fox, Dustin Watson and Matt Fundingsland to open the tavern, and it connects pretty seamlessly to the German beer hall — a logical partnership, given Wisconsin’s strong German heritage.
Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern, 1417 Market St., opens for the first time Friday, Sept. 8, just in time for the Packers’ home opener on Sunday, Sept. 10. It opens at 3 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends.