From left, Andrew and Rick Buehrens
Rick and Mary Buehrens
1926, rebuilt in 1939 (with a parking structure added over the top in 1961) and rebuilt in 1997 (when the parking structure was demolished).
520 Wisconsin Ave., Racine, WI 53403,
Hours of Operation:
7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday; Closed Sundays and holidays
One of five remaining restaurants in a chain founded in 1923 in Flint, Mich. as Kewpee Hotel Hamburgs. The original slogan: “Hamburg pickle on top, makes your heart go flippity-flop.”
Hamburger, $1.70; Double Cheeseburger, $3.35; Shakes, $3.40; Malts, $3.50
Most Popular Items:
Cheeseburger and French Fries
A large display case with Kewpie dolls and memorabilia dating back to the original restaurant.
About the Owners:
Rick Buehrens started working at the restaurant in 1976 when he was a student at Lutheran High School. This was same year as David and Richard Kristopeit, Jr. bought the restaurant from their father, Dick, who had worked at Kewpee since 1942 and later bought the restaurant from his sister, Emily Durkee after her husband, “Spec” Durkee passed away. Rick started as a dishwasher and moved up the ranks to trim station, then grill, then owner. He met his future wife, Mary Gracyalny, at Kewpee. She was a student at St. Catherine’s High School and worked there after school. They got to know each other in the basement of the restaurant as he portioned french fries while she did her homework. They both attended the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where Mary graduated and went on to become a chemist at Abbott Laboratories (now AbbVie). Rick continued working at the restaurant and the couple bought the business from David and his wife Trudy (Rick’s sister) in 2003 (David had bought out his brother Richard in 1992). Their two sons worked at the restaurant through their high school years and son Austin helped manage the restaurant during the summers while attending St. Cloud State. He’s now a financial analyst for IBM in Rochester, Minn. Son Andrew works at Kewpee while attending UW-Parkside.