Goin’ West with Terry & Dana Nelson

Goin’ West with Terry & Dana Nelson

An exclusive Q&A about the upcoming Down Town’r Saloon

One of the great teams of Downtown Kenosha – Terry & Dana Nelson – have been bringing us award-winning pizza at Kaiser’s, 510 57th Street, for years. They expanded westward last year with the opening of the uptown Blue Collar Tavern, 2627 63rd Street.  Now, Terry has purchased the building at 707 56th Street. The space has been the home to many beloved businesses over the the past century: from a supermarket, to Phillips Gifts, to Pazzo’s, to Mike’s Chicken and Donuts. Now, it will be home to the Down Town’r Saloon. Terry and Dana Nelson, who are now owners and/or managers of three Kenosha businesses, gave us the scoop on what’s coming soon to our neighborhood.

What made you decide on a second business in Downtown Kenosha? It has been an ongoing process with quite a few obstacles to overcome. If you heard the rumor that the owners of La Fogata were going to buy it, the rumors were true. They were very close to finalizing a deal. We came in after they decided against it. We have accepted the challenge!

What are your plans for the Down Town’r Saloon? The way it is now, when you walk in through those front swinging doors, you get that old west saloon feel. We are running with that. It will have a southwestern theme, some Native American influence, a little south of the border. We will have some great bbq items on the menu, we are bringing in a smoker.  We’re going to try to kick it up a little bit in Downtown Kenosha and see what happens – we hope everyone will like it.

There is quite a bit of space here, what are your plans for the upstairs area? The upstairs will get a little facelift. The plan is to have it open during the summer when we can utilize the open porch. For winters, we will have it available for private parties.

What kind of drinks can we expect at the Down Town’r Saloon? Since we are a saloon, our focus will be on Jack Daniel’s, because we all know that whiskey is a favorite among cowboys. We are still fine-tuning our cocktail ideas. But we will also have margarita and horchata machines.  We have an awesome prickly pear margarita; we will have 16 beers on tap, a nice blend of popular domestics and Mexican beers. We are not going ‘craft-crazy,’ we have those places already in Downtown Kenosha – they are awesome and they do their thing very well.

When do you plan on opening? We still have a whole lot to do. In a perfect world, we open on St. Patrick’s Day… if everything goes wrong, it could be Memorial Day. We shall see.

What is it you love about Downtown Kenosha? We love the history, the architecture, the eclectic feel. The lake, which draws everybody from the community. Our parks and beaches  bring families together, it brings individuals to the area.
We are also excited for the future – for the Mayor’s plan for Downtown Kenosha – it is going to be amazing and we are proud to be a small part of it.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business? Don’t be afraid. If you have the vision, jump in. But don’t make stupid choices, know what you have financially available.

Terry and Dana, you are one of Downtown Kenosha’s most prestigious power couples. What is next on the horizon for the two of you? Well, I think I’m about ready for a nap.


Interview and photos by Donny Stancato
Edited by Jason Hedman