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Buckets Pub

100% Local

2031 Lathrop Ave
Racine , WI 53405 (view map)
Phone: 262-633-8951 FAX: 262-633-5384 Website: Hours:

11am-12 midnight everyday
Sun 5:30 pm – 12 midnight in the summer

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There's more to Buckets Pub than its wings
As seen in The Journal Times
Monday, April 11, 2005
By Marci Laehr

When Chuck and Connie Brandt first began planning their Lathrop Avenue pub over 20 years ago, they decided their gimmick should be bottles of beer served in a bucket.

However, there are really two major reasons people love Buckets Pub: the chicken wings and the 28 TVs which play just about every and any sports game.

"The wings are our number-one seller," said Connie, who runs the kitchen end of things at the business she and her husband own.

Some might even call them legendary.

Chuck recalls the time he saw a group of people in the pub eating dozens and dozens of chicken wings. He went up and said hello, and noticed a brown, sort of nasty looking chicken wing sitting in a plastic bag at the table. Chuck didn't say anything, but hoped the wing wasn't something that had just been served out of his kitchen.

Later, when the group ordered more wings, he brought them out. He finally asked what was going on with the bagged wing. The people at the table erupted in laughter.

Apparently, they were a family of Racine natives who live in different parts of the country. Every time they are in town visiting their parents, they go to Buckets for chicken wings.

Several years ago a sister in Colorado was asked what she would like for Christmas and replied, "I'd like wings from Buckets."

To honor her request, one of her siblings preserved a Buckets chicken wing and sent it to the sister for Christmas. Since then, the wing has traveled the country, being sent from one family member to another.

"This wing had been across the country several times," Chuck said.

Game's on! Perhaps the only thing at Buckets that draws in more people than their wings is the pub's 28 TVs, that regularly play every game someone might want to see.

"We sometimes have 10 to 12 games going at the same time," Chuck said.

The neat wood tables in the pub's dining room, make Buckets a comfortable atmosphere to have a beer and burger, and watch the game in, he said.

"The food is very good," Chuck said. "There's room to sit down and watch a game. (The customers) don't have to sit at a bar."

In fact, during football season, regular customers and dedicated fans actually gather every week for the game at their own special tables at Buckets.

"We can be in the kitchen and know whose at what table without looking," Connie said.

Buckets certainly has its regular customers. The same groups often meet there for lunch two or three times a week, and others meet after work several nights a week.

Burgers, brats and more The Brandts know that these regulars are drawn to their pub, at least in part, by the short yet tasty menu of burgers, fish, sandwiches and chicken. Favorites seem to be the wings, of course, and the fish fry.

"We sell a lot of fish on Fridays," Connie said.

The creation of the menu was a joint effort between Chuck and Connie, who wanted to serve normal pub food, but really good pub food.

"Connie does a good job with consistency," Chuck said. "We want a good quality product."

They are also open to manageable change.

"We change as we hear what the customers want," Connie said. "We try to accommodate them."

For example, the grilled chicken sandwich on the menu was added after frequent requests for one.

Mike Balcer, 43, eats lunch at Buckets a couple times a week. He's very proud that Connie added a roast pork sandwich to the menu at his request.

But he likes just about everything they serve at Buckets. "I've had it all," he said. "The wings are the best in Racine."

He also likes the atmosphere of the pub, and the people who frequent the place.

Buckets serves food seven days a week from 11 a.m. to midnight. In the summer months they open at 5:30 p.m. on Sundays. They are always closed on holidays.

"Our employees need to spend time with their families," Connie said. "We won't ask our employees to do something we don't want to do. We think family is important."

Like family The Brandts' genuine love for the people that work for them has helped them retain good employees for long periods of time, some for as long as 18 years.

"We have a great group of people who work here," Connie said. "We all care for each other. It's like family around here."

"It's a lot of fun," Chuck said.

That feeling of family also extends to their customers.

Buckets is a friendly, clean and safe place that all age groups can feel comfortable in, Connie said. She said their customers range in age from 21 to 90. They've celebrated with customers as they have children, watched the children grown up, have seen other customers retire, have grandchildren, and even pass away.

"You see the whole life cycle," Connie said. "It's all about the people. We've made a lot of friends."

Customers have also watched the Brandts three children, Charlie, Cory and Christine grow up, marry and start families.

"We've shared with our regular customers," Connie said. "We've been here so long."

Chucky Buckets Prior to opening Buckets, the couple owned another tavern called the Riverside Pub on Northwestern Avenue. In 1984 they bought the old Shakey's Pizza on Lathrop Avenue and turned it into their pub.

The name Buckets originated when Chuck was in high school. He and a group of friends went water skiing. A guy they were with called him "Chucky Buckets."

Chuck's friends thought the name was really funny, and every once in a while after that, they would yell "Buckets!" when they saw him.

Later, when coming up with ideas for their soon-to-be pub on Lathrop Avenue, Chuck and Connie saw a bucket of beers in a magazine. They decided to serve bottles of beer in buckets. The idea stuck and the name stuck.

Today, you can still get five bottles of beer in a bucket for the price of four there.

And Chuck and Connie have remained on-site owners, with Chuck taking care of the bar area, and Connie overseeing the kitchen work. They spend time working at the pub every single day, if they're in town. Sometimes it might be for just four hours, other days it's for 12 or 13.

"We live here," Chuck said. "This is home. We love what we do. We eat, sleep and breathe this place."

"And we still like each other," Connie said.

But they have made changes over the years. One of their most recent additions was a big one.

Banquet, Buckets style Just over a year ago, the Brandts added a banquet room onto the back of the pub to host everything from bridal and baby showers to bowling banquets to corporate training sessions. The banquet room, which seats 75, has a full service bar, room for a DJ or band, and pretty much an unlimited menu.

"We can do just about anything back there, from open faced sandwiches to prime rib," Connie said.

Unlike the interior of the rest of Buckets, the banquet room is void of any sports decorations. It's neutral and pretty with natural woodwork and creamy walls.

Because it was an outdoor space before the renovation, the wall separating the main pub from the banquet room almost completely buffers any noise from the bar to the party room. There is also a private entrance, so guests don't have to walk through Buckets to get to the banquet room.

Although they have only had the extra room for 14 months, the Brandts say word is traveling fast that it's a nice place to have a party.

ADDRESS: 2031 Lathrop Ave.

OWNERS: Chuck and Connie Brandt

MENU: Burgers, fish, sandwiches, broasted chicken, appetizers, hot dogs and brats

PRICING: $3 to $5 for appetizers, $4 to $8 for sandwiches, burger and fish

SPECIALTIES: Chicken wings, $5.50 for 10 pieces and $9.95 for 20 pieces

HOURS: 11 a.m. to midnight seven days a week, 5:30 p.m. to midnight on Sundays in the summer
* Prices and items may have changed since the publication of this article. *

Local Rewards

Reward Details: Get 12oz bottles of Miller Genuine Drafts or Miller Genuine Draft Lites for $1.75 on Thursdays (Expires: Never)

Reward Details: Get 16 oz Miller Lites for $2.00 on Tuesdays (Expires: Never)


Provided by Buckets Pub

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Expiration 12/31/2024


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