Daniel Cunningham loves history.
He referred to himself as a history buff, and as someone who respects traditions. And when it came to buying Green Acres Restaurant a few months ago, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“I’d been looking for a third location for the past two or three years,” Cunningham wrote in an email. “I also considered expanding Fish Tales Restaurant by acquiring an adjacent property, and put a lot of effort into that idea, but unfortunately it didn’t pan out.”
“The history is one of the things we love about [the restaurant],” he added. “Each of our restaurants has its own unique history and personality.”
Cunningham wrote while being a business owner is tough, the hard work always pays off. It requires dedication and drive. It is also necessary to know the target demographic, to strategize and plan for losses and to create business goals, both short-term and long-term.
“When my wife and I learned Green Acres might be an opportunity, it was a perfect fit for us,” Cunningham wrote. “Many of the same customers at First Tales are also big fans of Green Acres, and so were we.”
Green Acres Restaurant in Sauk City, according to the business’s website, was constructed in the late 1800’s and has been used for a variety of different ventures including a, “stagecoach resting area, general store, tavern, dance hall and restaurants.”
In brief, various people have managed and owned the establishment over the years, including Jack Hammersley, who acquired the building in the 1930’s and Leonard and Evelyn Breunig from 1936 to 1946, who were managers when it was known as River Tavern or Jack’s Riverside Inn. A couple named Maynard “Woody” and Delores Wood “Dolly” bought the building in 1972 and ran it for the next 13 years. In 1986, Ted and Amy Klein renamed Wood’s Riverside Inn to Green Acres Restaurant and managed it until they bought the business in 1990.
In 2017, Cunningham and his wife Kris with their two children, Evelyn and Evan, bought the ever-expanding restaurant with the intent to preserve its longstanding role in the community, but to bring it into the 21st century.
Cunningham said he plans to implement mostly technological changes to the joint. He especially wants to bring in an up-to-date cash register system.
“We want to continue doing the things people love,” Cunningham wrote. “[This includes] great steaks, fish fry, nightly specials and great service.”
“No drastic changes, but people will see new things introduced, using the freshest possible ingredients, updating some menu items and the wine list,” he added.
He also wants to bring back some old menu favorites, run some trials with new specials, and change the frequency by which steak and perch are served. They are currently served only on certain days, but Cunningham would like the Wisconsin favorites served every day.
“All customers should leave happy,” Cunningham said.