BBQ and smokehouse restaurant set to open in Solon Springs

Kim and Steve Kastern are opening the new restaurant after 17 years running the Choo Choo Bar and Grill in Superior.
Steve Kastern, left, and Kim Kastern work on a whiskey barrel table in Hog Wild BBQ in Solon Springs Tuesday morning, June 9. The barrels are from the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn. (Jed Carlson /

Hog Wild BBQ and Smokehouse is set to open July 15 in the former White Birch Supper Club building in Solon Springs. For owners Kim and Steve Kastern, the restaurant is both a new venture and a return to their roots.

“We live eight miles away,” Kim Kastern said. “This has been home base for us for almost two decades.”

The couple owned the Choo Choo Bar and Grill in Superior for 17 years, from 2002-2019. In 2013, they purchased the White Birch building on foreclosure. Renovations started in 2015, but got put on hold due to family commitments. In October 2019, the family —including sons Steve and Cash Kastern and Austin Berkhof — dug in to finish the project along with contractors Kevin Terry with Absolute Maintenance, Rick Kitzman Construction and Berkhof Builders. That included gutting and renovating the entire building.

“This has been a staple in the community for years so to give it a new facelift has been exciting,” Kim Kastern said. “The only thing that you see in here that was here before is that front door.”

The interior is open and inviting, with wood floors, a tiled wall behind the bar and fixtures that range from a one-of-a-kind Harley Davidson neon sign and lights fashioned out of Budweiser bottles to tables built out of barrels from the Jack Daniels distillery.


Village Board President Tom Stewart has been waiting for months for the restaurant to open its doors.

“It’s beautiful,” he said. “It’s going to be such a nice addition to our community.”

Hog Wild is something new to both the area and the family.

“We’re going into something we’ve never done before,” Kim Kastern said. “We’ve been in the industry for all of these years, however barbecue on this level is different.”

Patrons can expect appetizers, specialty sandwiches, pulled pork, chicken and burgers, with brisket and ribs available when market prices level out. Future plans include serving up breakfast at Hog Wild.

It is, she said, a new adventure for them.

“We just needed a change in atmosphere, something more family oriented, try to step away from the bar and grill, have more of an eatery,” she said.

They chose barbecue for the family-run business to add something new to the area.


“So it was bringing in more people and revenue for all of us, instead of trying to compete with something that was already here,” Kim Kastern said. “Besides Famous Dave’s, where do you see barbecue in this area? You just don’t.”

The name came from her husband.

“Because I ride a hog,” Steve Kastern said.

A number of loyal employees are making the move with them, as is a staple from their former business.

“I was famous for my bloody marys at the Choo Choo Bar, and they’re coming back,” Kim Kastern said.

Community support for the restaurant has been overwhelming, she said.

“I really believe that if you do things right, people will come to you,” she said.

For more information, visit the Hog Wild BBQ and Smokehouse Facebook page.


This story was updated at 9:40 a.m. July 15 with additional information on building construction from the owners. It was originally posted at 11:12 a.m. July 6.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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