By Emily Bialkowski
Retirement isn’t for everybody. When Patsy Wiste called it quits after a decade at Coulee Bank in La Crosse she knew she wanted to pursue a meaningful investment in her hometown of Houston. Everybody’s got to eat and what better way to be part of the community than with a restaurant?
Enter the expertise of Barb Kappauf who has worked her magic as a kitchen manager for Camp Winnebago, the Houston County Jail and other local establishments.
“She asked me if I’d do the cooking and be the kitchen manager,” Kappauf said.
As the two collaborated Kappauf’s sister, Sarah Wiste, also entered the picture as floor manager.
The trio dove head first into establishing a family-style buffet in the historic Skifton Building in Houston.
“It just sounded right because there are a couple of restaurants in town and we didn’t want to duplicate what they are doing,” Kappauf said, adding that the location just makes sense for them.
“Patsy grew up in Houston and she remembers this building. It was a general mercantile – the Skifton Building – that’s how we refer to it,” Kappauf said.
The Bluff Country Buffet opened Feb. 11 and has been well received, a fact made evident by their increasing food needs and repeat customers.
“We are focusing on the family and a relaxed feel, and it’s been working wonderful,” the kitchen manager said.
The buffet starts each day with a breakfast menu and then shifts focus to the buffet for lunch and dinner. There’s a lettuce salad bar with all the regular veggies and condiments you’d expect, as well as a second salad bar that features a variety of homemade salads compliments of Sarah Wiste. “Nothing comes out of containers, and they’re loving that,” Kappauf said.
There are also two daily soups and a two-week rotation of various proteins such as beef, chicken and pork. Saturday night is reserved for barbecue ribs, and Friday is reserved for chicken and fish.
“We have an awesome deal going on there,” Kappauf said.
Bluff Country Buffet also has a Sunday brunch from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The restaurant’s enthusiastic owners and managers, straight forward home cooking and family-friendly environment might be why numbers continue to grow. That, and perhaps because the pastries are also homemade each day by Jackie Lindhorst.
Other team members include: Maureen Hughes, breakfast cook; Teesh Vix, morning hostess and cashier; Lierin Carrier, evening hostess and cashier; and a long list of other outstanding support staff, “too numerous to mention,” Kappauf said.
To see all the week’s specials and more on the restaurant visit their Facebook page.