Pizza Ranch owners cut ribbon on new Rhinelander restaurantSubmitted: 10/10/2018
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Pizza Ranch owners cut ribbon on new Rhinelander restaurant
RHINELANDER - A fully staffed kitchen cranking out fresh, hot food on Wednesday morning gave Bill Hoffmann confidence in the plan he and his wife hatched long ago.

"We're ready to go!" Hoffmann said.

Seven years after Hoffmann and his wife stopped at a Pizza Ranch in Iowa as customers, the couple cut the ribbon on their own 5,000 square foot restaurant in Rhinelander.

"When they started painting the walls and putting up the signage, that's when it was, yeah, this is it, this is actually happening," Cory Hoffmann said.

The Hoffmanns got city approval for the restaurant next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway last fall, broke ground this spring, and watched construction progress through the summer while working through some building delays.

Hoffmann says the hardest part was hiring and training the 85 employees who come from Rhinelander and communities like Crandon and Eagle River.

"To a lot of people, this is going to be like a second home," Hoffmann said. "It's almost going to be like going to grandma's house for Thanksgiving dinner or something, and we can do that every day of the week."

All those new hires got put to the test Wednesday, with the first of two "soft openings" free to people with coupons. Retired teacher and now Pizza Ranch employee Susan Grekso wants to make sure she gets all of those customers to come back and bring their friends.

"Word of mouth is a strong, strong advertiser," Grekso said.

The restaurant should also get a boost from joining the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce. The Hoffmanns did so months before they were ready to open. The Chamber was happy to add another restaurant to its nearly 370 members.

"They're all different, they all have something different to offer, different environments, different menus," RACC Executive Director Lauren Sackett said.

The Hoffmanns know their restaurant certainly fits that billing. Now, they're ready to show people why this dream was worth the wait.

"Build everything around the community and not just be a restaurant," Hoffmann said. "We want to be a very integral part of the community."

The Hoffmanns will hold one more "soft opening" on Thursday. Pizza Ranch will fully open to the public Monday at 11 a.m.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


Play Video

MINOCQUA - A generous donation gave one Northwoods fire department a new life-saving tool. The Minocqua Fire Department now has its own airboat.

The department had been considering getting one for a few years. Before they would use a man-powered sled, which had to be walked out to people trapped on ice. Assistant Fire Chief Brian Hazelett said an airboat makes rescue attempts easier.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - About 30 years ago, Zion Lutheran Church in Rhinelander held it's last live nativity scene. But Saturday, that tradition will be coming back.

The nativity will include animals like donkeys, horses, and lambs. Actors and actresses will play people in The Bible Story. Board of outreach director Jeff Coser said this is a beautiful telling of the birth of Jesus Christ to the community.

"I think the folks that attend, they're really going to enjoy it. It's obviously very traditional," said Coser. "We're going to have our choir here as well as singing traditional Christmas hymns."

+ Read More

ONEIDA COUNTY - The Oneida County Tourism Council believes a new brand and new website can help it attract a younger generation of people on vacation.

For the second year in a row, the state tourism department gave the council almost $40,000 to work on a branding project.

The council plans to replace its current website.  It's also looking for ways to draw new people from new places to the county.

+ Read More

Play Video

SUGAR CAMP - Stacey Klein is an employee of St. Mary's Hospital in Rhinelander.

She works in the occupational therapy department where she helps patients recover from serious health problems.

"I help them re-learn how to get dressed and [get back to] their daily activities," said Klein.

Friday, she took the day off, but didn't take the day off from helping others.

"This is like my favorite day of the year," Klein said.

+ Read More

Play Video

THREE LAKES - One Northwoods town got a new chamber of commerce director this week. Collette Sorgel spent her first day as the Three Lakes director Thursday.

Sorgel moved to the area full time back in 2009. As the new chamber director, she plans to send surveys to get feedback from various businesses and town board members, to see what things the chamber could improve on. 

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Dialing in her car radio to 87.9 FM at Hodag Park in Rhinelander put Erica Chariton into a festive mood on Friday morning.

"It's the Field of Dreams moment, as I like to call it," Chariton said.

Her group's months of hard work all led up to Friday night: the grand opening of the Lights of the Northwoods year two at 5 p.m.  The show expanded from one weekend to two, with lights displays Friday through Sunday from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

"Yes, [we added] a lot more lights this year," Chariton, the group's secretary, said with a laugh.

+ Read More

MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a sweeping package of Republican legislation Friday that restricts early voting and weakens the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, brushing aside complaints that he is enabling a brazen power grab and ignoring the will of voters.

Signing the bills just 24 days before he leaves office, the Republican governor and one-time presidential candidate downplayed bipartisan criticism that they amount to a power grab that will stain his legacy.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here