RACINE — The Beacon is back.
After running the Beacon Tavern & Grill from 1991-2006, and following its next life as Peg and Lou’s Bar & Grill, owner Dan Taivalkoski has reopened the Beacon.
The reopening also follows more than $150,000 in upgrades.
The tavern’s address of 3113 Douglas Ave. is a misnomer; no part of the property touches Douglas Avenue and can only be seen from that street from a certain angle. Rather, the building is actually on Willmor Street, which meets Douglas Avenue at the north-side Aldi store.
Taivalkoski, who is also executive director of the Racine County Food Bank, bought his tavern in 1991. After running it for 15 years, in 2006 he began leasing it to the Peg and Lou Larson, with an option to purchase. The sale to them was expected to close this past March, Taivalkoski said, but then Lou Larson got sick. The Larsons gave up their liquor license at renewal time, June 30, and Lou died in August.
Since taking back the liquor license, Taivalkoski has greatly upgraded his building, inside and out. The exterior got a paint job, a new pergola over the entrance to increase its visibility, a new sign, new landscaping and a new parking lot. An old fence and a couple of trees that obscured the facade were removed.
Inside, there is new flooring, new paint, new plumbing, new bar stools, new soda and beer tap systems and an extensively remodeled kitchen, including a new exhaust hood.
Taivalkoski said the look and feel he tried to give the Beacon is of “a quintessential Wisconsin tavern.”
He will hold onto his Food Bank job, which Taivalkoski said is “more than full-time.” So, he’s hired a bar manager and a kitchen manager.
Emphasis on food
“I’m trying to go heavier on food,” he said. “We had a really successful food business in the past.”
Consequently, Taivalkoski said, there will be someone working in the kitchen every day from the 11 a.m. opening until 9 p.m.
Taivalkoski is bringing back a prime-rib sandwich he said was very popular at the old Beacon and added fried chicken to the menu. Alaskan pollock is available every day, but the Friday fish fry adds numerous options: walleye, lake perch, cod loins, catfish, and battered smelt.
Eventually, he intends to add daily specials.
The Beacon, which seats about 48 people, opens at 11 a.m. daily, with food served until 9 p.m. For more information, call 262-639-3088.