by Cindy Germain
The building on the Sawyer side of Sturgeon Bay, originally known as the Sturgeon Bay Opera House and home to Andre’s Restaurant for decades, is getting a new look and owner.
The Union Supper Pub, set to open at the end of June, will take over the familiar spot on Oak Street, sporting a casual atmosphere and extensive menu of not just pizzas and sandwiches, but steaks and seafood.
Wendi Carter, who is owner of The Brick Lot and part-owner of Crate, is excited to bring this building rich in history back to life.
“People in the community have a connection to the building. Everyone knows someone who has had their reception or reunion here. I love that connection,” she said.
This community connection was part of the inspiration to call it The Union, which was also the name of the adjacent street at one time and the basis for the restaurant logo.
The term “supper pub” was coined to convey a different dining experience from a supper club, Carter explained. “We want a place that is casual, where you go to meet friends whether you’re getting off the boat or just mowing the lawn.”
The building is totally refurbished with two dining rooms with nightly table service, a full bar serving cocktail classics along with the usual beer suspects, plus regional and local brews, as well as a banquet hall.
Chef James Hopkins said he planned the menu with tried and true favorites, adding “a little twist with quality fresh foods.” Brunch on Sunday, prime rib night and fish fry Friday will be staples, with the fish prepared “just the way Chef James loves it.”
Trained in Vancouver and practiced in the Twin Cities and Florida as well as far flung places in Europe and the Cayman Islands, Carter knows Chef James brings a lot to the table and is pleased that he and his wife Brenda have chosen to relocate here.
The supper pub will be managed by Jennifer Springer, who moved to the area just two years ago, explaining that she fell in love with Door County on a visit when 16 years old. Having always been in the restaurant business, from washing dishes as a kid to managing beginning in her 20s, Springer said, “I’m excited to merge a career that I love with a community that I am passionate about.”
Carter is looking forward to opening a new dining option in Sturgeon Bay and one that pays homage to its history.
She said the Sturgeon Bay Historical Museum “has been wildly helpful,” attributing the restaurant name and décor choices on historical finds. The Union Supper Pub will be open to the public on June 26 with hours Tuesday through Sunday.