"Brenda and Tim Kasmar-Ehlers are setting out to bring what they term 'small town Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, to State Street.'The reality: I take no joy in saying this, but Larry B's has got to be the most doomed restaurant I have ever been to in my life. If you were going to write a musical, How To Fail In Business While Really Trying, an ideal setting would be Larry B's. The most fatal thing: they have these weird plastic seats that are sort of interesting to look at but are wildly uncomfortable and, if you are the sort of person who has a little too much junk in the trunk (if you know what I mean), you spend the entire meal sliding forward out of them. The chairs are also high enough up that you can't anchor yourself on the ground, so, if you are sliding forward out of them, you have to anchor your feet on one of the other stools, as well as perch your paunch onto the table, just to eat in equilibrium. There is no way you can have a successful diner-style restaurant in Wisconsin, even in the student-dominated sections of Madison, if your restaurant is ergonomically designed to discomfit/torture customers who are at all overweight. Perhaps they could make up for this if they had great food. However: they don't have great food. Indeed, their breakfast burritos showed no more than a middling grasp of how one goes about making a tortilla, and this was supposed to be their breakfast special.
The couple is doing this with the debut of their restaurant, Larry B's, 617 State St., which opened Tuesday.
They recently sold their six-bedroom Fort Atkinson home, their sports car and other possessions and moved in above the restaurant.
'It's kind of like a midlife crisis gone bad,' said Brenda, 45, who has run a family day care business for more than half her life. Tim's background is working for the Target Corporation but he also has five years of restaurant experience.
Each had always wanted to open a restaurant and after they married a year ago they decided to go for it."
"We decided to let this thing fly. Our children think we are crazy," Brenda said, adding that between them, they have five grown kids and a couple of grandchildren.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
each had always wanted to open a restaurant and after they married a year ago they decided to go for virtually certain bankruptcy
I had breakfast this morning at Larry B's, a relatively new restaurant on State Street. It was my first time there. Here's its backstory (from the Cap Times):