Crafty Rooster opens in Brule
The restaurant and bar serves up craft beer, egg rolls and specialty pizzas.
BRULE — Brule is home to a new bar and restaurant offering homemade egg rolls, flatbread appetizers, specialty pizzas and craft beer.
The Crafty Rooster opened May 24 in the former Round Up North building, 5831 S. Maple St. The business is open from 11 a.m. to close Wednesday through Sunday.
Owners Catherine and Rooster Van Doorn, who are currently in the process of selling their Rusk County home and moving to Brule, weren’t planning to open a business. She works for local school districts offering physical therapy and counseling services through the Cooperative Educational Service Agency 12, located in Ashland. He runs an asphalt business, Lake Country Sealcoaters.
“We weren’t looking. We just walked in here one day and it was for sale,” Rooster said.
They decided to give it a try.
“All the financing fell into place and here we are,” Catherine said.
Normally, summer would be the time when the asphalt business was in high gear. Supply chain issues have pushed the delivery of needed product back to mid-July, half way through the summer season. It was a good time to try something new, the couple said.
The Crafty Rooster boasts specialty mixed drinks and 10 taps with a rotating array of craft beers, including Chasing Dragons, an IPA from Heart of the North Brewery out of Ladysmith and Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale out of Georgia. Its starter menu lists an array of pizzas and a sampling of Catherine’s homemade egg rolls.
“Ten years ago I started making egg rolls, and I had a lunch wagon I created,” she said.
The Crafty Rooster offers three of her most popular egg rolls — Asian, sweet buffalo chicken and southwestern, which packs a mix of refried beans, black beans, cheese, corn, green chiles and southwest spices. There are seven signature pizzas to choose from, ranging from the hotter than Valhalla and meaty margherita to the smoked gouda and chicken. There are plans to add smoked meat sandwiches and a specialty fish fry.
“Our menu may be small, but it’s unique,” Catherine said. “We want to have a fun atmosphere. Not necessarily rowdy but just a place where people can come relax and enjoy, try something different.”
They currently employ three people. Catherine works the kitchen; Rooster works the bar.
“I rule the roost, but she rules the Rooster,” he said.
Brule is familiar to Rooster, who’s been visiting the Douglas County town since he was a boy. His grandfather ran a resort on Lake Holcombe, so he grew up in that service atmosphere. The family owned 40 acres of land on Wills Road in Brule and visited often.
“This was where his grandpa came to relax,” and get away from his customers, Catherine said.
When Rooster was growing up, the restaurant on Maple Street was the Lion’s Den. It became Round Up North under owners Joe and Linda Scaccia. The couple owned the restaurant for 22 years, serving up Italian recipes passed down by Joe's grandmother.
Linda Scaccia said they were happy to pass the building on to the Van Doorns.
"They just seem like really nice people. They had this vision of what they wanted to do, and I thought, 'Well, good for you,'" she said.
Buns in Brule
The Scaccias have retired from the restaurant, but they continue to sell Linda’s homemade buns, French rolls, ciabatta and other baked goods through a new home-based business, Buns in Brule. She was prompted to open the business after learning that Wisconsin law allows home bakers to sell their product without a license.
"I figured I'd be making them for us anyhow," Scaccia said.
She currently bakes about 12 dozen a week, far fewer than the roughly 300 buns a week she made when they owned Round Up North.
"It's just enough. It keeps me busy, keeps us in stock with some rolls and everybody seems to be happy with it," Scaccia said. "When they find out that we have them, they're very excited."
Buns in Brule is located about four blocks away from the Crafty Rooster, 14060 E. Central Ave. Customers can call or text 218-393-4934 with their order, which can be picked up between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily.