By K. Woodzick, Editor
Some of my best memories come from time spent at sports bars. T-Bock’s Sports Bar and Grill became the New Minowa Players’ favorite spot to hang after rehearsals for our community theatre productions during my college years.
We would get chips and salsa for the table and have a couple rounds of beer (or root beer) before heading home. We would also go there after attending local softball games and rooting on our actor friends when they pursued their more athletic pastimes.
Now that I have a bit more experience in the theatre industry (I joke that I have two and a half theatre degrees), I am afforded opportunities to direct community theatre productions. Currently, I’m directing a show called Deers, by Marcus Gorman for the Nicolet Players. The show is somewhat inspired by the sitcom Cheers and is set in, you guessed it, a bar.
I asked one of my colleagues about his favorite spots in Rhinelander and he immediately replied that Bucketheads had wonderful burgers. As loyal readers of the Northwoods Foodie have learned, a meal of burgers and cheese curds has been my go-to study meal for years. So, a stop by Bucketheads for a takeout dinner to accompany my pre-rehearsal notes session seemed the perfect fit.
Bucketheads Sports Bar and Grill is located at 46 North Brown Street in downtown Rhinelander, right next door to Tom’s Drawing Board. A friendly yet imposing Hodag painted above the bar looks down on all the patrons. As I entered, I saw two women at the end of the bar sipping Bloody Mary’s with beer chasers. The friendly bartender greeted me right away and gave me my meal, ready to go as soon as I walked in the door.
I was impressed to learn that Bucketheads is one of the few eateries offering delivery to the Rhinelander area. (The hours do vary, depending on staffing, so make sure to check their Facebook page for updates.) Their namesake comes from a retired tradition started in the early 2000s where Brewers TV announcers encouraged fans to wear buckets on their heads for Tuesday night home games.
I enjoyed the delicious Cowboy Killer burger: a masterfully toasted bun, a hearty burger patty, juicy strips of Applewood smoked bacon all crowned with a crispy, golden onion ring, all complimented by just the right amount of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce. (Yes, you will definitely need a napkin – or five – to eat this burger!) I opted for the sweet potato fries which were well-cooked and flavorful, and enhanced my order with their crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside beer-battered cheese curds. This was a supremely tasty meal, folks!
The meal was perhaps made even better by eating it overlooking Lake Julia on the Nicolet College campus. Autumn leaves fell while I talked theatre with my colleague. This is comfort food that cultivates connection and conversation, and ideal fuel for a game day viewing party or celebration.
Bucketheads opens at 11:00 am daily. The kitchen is open until 10:00 pm nightly, except on Sundays, when it closes at 9:00 pm. Takeout and curbside options are available during kitchen hours. Free delivery is available Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Learn more by visiting their website.
K. Woodzick is a life-long theatre artist and has over a decade of experience as a non-profit marketing professional and writer. They live in Woodruff with their silver lab, River.