A Titletown staple celebrates 30 years in business
By Janelle Fisher
ASHWAUBENON – For three decades, the mention of Green Bay Packers gamedays, Resch Center concerts, Resch Expo conventions and Stadium District nightlife has, more often than not, also included the Stadium View Bar and Grill.
What Kelly Hewitt, the front-of-the-house manager at Stadium View Bar and Grill, said started with a 28-day transformation has since led to a staple amongst the hustle and bustle of all things entertainment in Greater Green Bay.
“(The owners) closed on the property on Sept. 1, 1992,” she said. “And 28 days later transformed it into a sports bar… So they opened on Sept. 28, 1992.”
Hewitt said one thing that helped the business in its early years was the improvement the Packers began having on the field, which occurred around the same time.
“Brett Favre came to Green Bay in 1992,” she said. “We opened in 1992, so that’s when the Packers started to get better. In the beginning of ‘96, we opened up the first banquet hall. So that was pretty big, and then later on that year, the Packers ended up going to the Super Bowl.”
The Packer’s Super Bowl win in 1996, Hewitt said, brought a huge amount of business to Stadium View from all over the world.
“That was a very big thing for Stadium View, because we’re right there, pretty much the only bar in that area, and so we had people coming from all over the world just to celebrate the Packers at Stadium View,” she said. “We had a line of people all the way to Mike McCarthy Way from our front door. I remember waiting on people from Australia and England that flew to Green Bay just to be in Green Bay while the Packers were playing at the Super Bowl.”
In addition to the Packers, Hewitt said the other local sports teams have also been good for business.
“I started there when it was open for a little over two years,” she said. “I remember when the Gamblers started, so that kept it busy, and then we’d have the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay basketball, back when Tony Bennett was there. Whatever team is doing good is always good for business when you’re a sports bar – even better when (the action) is across the street.”
Hewitt said it wasn’t just sports that brought business and growth to Stadium View, noting the bar has hosted a wide variety of events.
“We had Jim Rome, he’s a really big sports talk show host,” she said. “He came and was in the banquet hall. (He) did a show there, that was really big. We had Tim McGraw play in our back parking lot because he was a good friend of Brett Favre. So, we put on a concert back there. We used to have all different bands outside, too.”
Hewitt said Stadium View also hosts more casual, unexpected events.
“It would just be silly things,” she said. “Like once in a while we’d come to work and all of a sudden there’s one carnival ride in the parking lot, like one of those bungee jumping things, and all of a sudden there’s the bride and groom from a wedding jumping off this thing in our parking lot.”
Hewitt said the late Jerry Watson, the original owner of Stadium View, was very receptive to any events people wanted to have there.
“Jerry was always wheeling and dealing,” she said. “Someone would come (and say) ‘Hey, can I do this in your parking lot? Can I do that?’ And he was always open to all these opportunities.”
Though Stadium View used to have some slower seasons, Hewitt said new additions and remodels have meant the bar is busy all the time.
“I mean throughout the years, I guess things kind of go up and down,” she said. “Summers would be our slower season… we’d be busy for weddings and that, but in the sports bar, we weren’t as busy in the summertime. So, that’s when they put the beer garden bar up and all that. And now, we’re busy all the time.”
Hewitt said Stadium View has come a long way over the last 30 years, from the little dress shop it once was to one of Titletown’s must-stops.
“We remodeled a couple times and added on the first banquet hall, the second banquet hall, and then the rooftop bar and the beer garden,” she said. “We just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and every time we just kept filling all the seats.”
More than just a sports bar
Hewitt said the one thing that has stood out to her during her time working at Stadium View is the family-like connections she’s made.
“I look at Stadium View as family – it’s been kind of like family,” she said. “It’s been my entire adult family, because I started there when I was 18. For anyone that comes and works there though, it’s a family-run business, but you feel like you’re family, and I think that shines through.”
Hewitt said those values shine through for patrons of Stadium View as well, noting the establishment’s homey feel.
“The culture is kind of like going to your friend’s house,” she said. “And visiting with your friends and having a good time – and with cool parents. We just have that homey, very hospitable feel when you come in.”
30th anniversary celebration
In honor of Stadium View’s 30th anniversary, Hewitt said a week-long celebration is in the works, which will feature throwbacks to the bar’s earlier days and new twists on old favorites.
“We’ll be having all kinds of throwbacks and kind of a twist on our specials,” she said.
The celebration will take place from Sunday, Aug. 21, to Saturday, August 27, with more details being released as it gets closer.