Rookies’ customers, staff reminisce as bar enters final month
MAZOMANIE, Wis. (WMTV) - Long-time customers and staff with Mazomanie sports bar Rookies are holding onto hope as the restaurant enters its final month.
Staff with the restaurant turned wiffle ball field announced Monday that the establishment will be closing after 25 years of service, attributing the decision to staffing woes, inflation, and falling revenues.
“Had a little trouble getting help out in the country like that,” owner Steve Schmitt said. “It’s a great spot and somebody will take it over, somebody new and fresh and I’m sure it’ll be fine and hopefully they keep the same theme.”
Customers and staff remain hopeful that someone purchases the beloved sports bar. Andrea Athanas has been going to Rookies since it opened in 1998.
“It’s funny, it’s kind of your ‘Cheers’. You come here and you start to recognize people and they start to know your name,” she said, “I just think it’s a really comfortable place to come. All of my memories of birthday parties, all the pictures I have of this place, and I do hope that somehow, it’ll reopen. I hope, I hope.”
Athanas adding that in addition to the sports collectibles, it’s the staff who make the experience so unique.
“Service. That’s why we keep coming back now. It’s the people tending the bar that are just so friendly and always take time to talk to you.”
Employee Rhea Rucker met her husband while working at the restaurant.
“The atmosphere is really great to be around, the people, the customers, the employees, we all get along really well, and we just know how to joke around and get our stuff done at the same time,” Rucker said. “I hope somebody will buy it so it can keep going so we don’t lose another restaurant in Black Earth or Mazo, but it also is a hard time now too.”
Rookies will remain open until June 30. Schmitt said they are open Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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