A few years ago, Kelcey Kinzel’s family was at a crossroads when her husband, Derrek, decided to transition out of the company he had worked with for the past 17 years. Do they relocate to a different city for a new opportunity or stay here? Considering how much they like Waunakee, it wasn’t a hard decision.
“We just really felt we wanted to grow our roots here,” Kelcey said.
They began deeply exploring various franchise options. They ultimately focused on something related to pizza, but knew they also wanted to create an experience for families and other customers. Nothing was really hitting home until one day Kelcey googled the descriptive words that summarized their vision: “family friendly,” “full service restaurant,” “sports bar” and “pizza.” That’s when she found their answer: Boston’s Pizza Restaurant and Sports Bar.
At first, however, they were hesitant because there aren’t many Boston’s in the United States – only 20 currently. But it is wildly successful and popular in Canada, with over 400 locations, and after further researching the brand, they knew this would be a welcome addition to Waunakee. With a menu that goes way beyond pizza and a fun, friendly atmosphere, Boston’s opened on Sept. 30 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Business has been non-stop so it’s not surprising to hear Kelcey say of their first month, “It’s been exciting. It’s been fun. It’s been exhausting; I’m not going to lie.”
The restaurant features different rooms and areas for private meetings and parties, as well as a wall with iconic pictures of Waunakee, and another with pictures of successful athletes that grew up in the Madison area. They also cater and plan to begin delivery service soon.
Kelcey grew up in Delta, Ohio, a small farm town west of Toledo. She graduated from Notre Dame Academy, an all-girls’ Catholic high school in Toledo in 1992 and attended Ohio State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis on human resources. She and Derrek became friends while in college but went their separate ways upon graduating in 1996. Both began careers, however, with Hyatt Hotels – she in human resources, and he in the rooms division.
As Kelcey moved up the corporate ladder, her promotions and opportunities took her from Columbus, Ohio, to Minneapolis to San Francisco, and to Carmel, California, where she became the director of human resources in 2000. It is the most scenic human resources office at Hyatt.
“When I went to my first day of work, I had a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and there were binoculars on my desk,” she said, allowing her to watch whales.
Derrek also found himself moving to different locations with Hyatt but the two were never in the same city. Email was just gaining popularity back then and they could stay in touch through the Hyatt server. After not seeing each other for two years, they decided to meet one weekend in Chicago, and were engaged six months later. Derrek later moved to California from Texas and they enjoyed their time there, but knew they wanted to get back to the Midwest.
Kelcey took a position opening a Hyatt in Cleveland, Ohio, while Derrek found employment with Great Wolf Resorts in Sandusky, Ohio, in April 2001. They were married that summer, and after their first daughter was born in September 2002, Kelcey stayed home to raise their children. Derrek’s Great Wolf career would take their family from Sandusky to the state of Washington, and finally to the corporate headquarters in Madison in 2010.
They have loved being here ever since. Their oldest daughter, Alyson (Aly) is a junior and just competed at state with the Waunakee High School golf team, and their younger daughter, Jazmyn (Jazz), seventh grade, is a competitive gymnast, winning the 2019 State Bars Champion for her age group at Level 7.
Their hospitality background has been invaluable in opening Boston’s. Kelcey helps wherever needed, but will ultimately focus on community and employee relations. They will consider opening additional locations, but for now plan to focus on this one.
“This is our baby,” she said, and they look forward to serving and giving back to the community they love.