Bar and Grill Comes to Dovetail Campground
Last summer was the first in about 50 years that Terry Wurster – a self-proclaimed “waiter with a mortgage” – didn’t spend waiting tables. Instead, he was busy building a restaurant of his own – Dovetail Grill – and it was Wurster’s long career in the food-service industry that was part of the reason why he wanted to start the business.
“Every waiter, when they start out, is convinced that they can do things better than everybody else,” he said.
His prior business success also spurred him on. In addition to working as a waiter, Wurster and his wife, Linda Hedeen-Wurster, run Dovetail Trading Gas Station and Convenience Store and the Dovetail Acres Campground, both of which are located at 10282 Hwy 57 in Sister Bay with Dovetail Grill.
Getting the Grill Together
It was early 2022 when Wurster and Hedeen-Wurster made the decision to open Dovetail Grill. Construction started last summer and concluded in late spring of this year.
That might seem like a quick turnaround time to an outsider, but it didn’t feel like one to Wurster, who spent months struggling to wrangle contractors to work on the restaurant.
“I could tell you all the tales of contractor horrors, but they would probably take me a whole pot of coffee to get through,” he said.
Those horrors are behind him now because the restaurant is set for its first day of operation on Friday, May 26. It will serve customers Tuesday-Sunday, 11 am – 10 pm.
Wurster’s aim was for Dovetail Grill to feel like a “Depression-era picnic pavilion,” with retro music and a series of garage doors to let in fresh air, he said. The menu focuses on the classics – burgers, sandwiches and salads – while also featuring some distinctive items such as whitefish ceviche and lobster cargot (lobster chunks with garlic butter and spinach leaves, served with toasted bread for dipping).
“It’s a different take on your basic bar food,” he said.
When Wurster bought the gas station about 12 years ago, he had no idea that his first business would be able to expand into three. He wasn’t even sure whether the gas station itself would survive because, he said, he “basically bought this dilapidated building and kind of resurrected it from the dead,” with zero experience in the gas industry.
Wurster still remembers the first time he met with some regional gas suppliers in Appleton and struggled to keep up with their conversation about overages and slosh factors – terms he couldn’t even define.
“After a while, I put my hand up and said, ‘Guys, I hope you know you’re talking to a career waiter here. I have no clue what you’re talking about,’” he recalled. “The looks on their faces all said, ‘This guy’s going to be broke in a year.’”
Now, Wurster can confidently say they were wrong.