Longtime cook retires from local tavern

An icon in Kiel’s food service industry has retired.

Barbie Schmitz has been cooking up some of the best sandwiches, dinners, and Friday fish fries in Kiel for 25 years, according to her loyal customers and friends who appreciated her talents throughout the years at MC’s Pub and Grill at 401 Fremont St. MC’s became Badger’s Den two years ago.

A retirement party was held recently at which Barbie was honored by Jeff and Debbie Mc Carey, former proprietors of MC’s, and Josh Bucholz and Dawn Van De Kreeke who now operate The Badger’s Den at that location.

Barbie learned to cook from her mother, who cooked everything from scratch for the family of which Barbie was the third of nine siblings. Laverne and Hank Reiss operated the concession stand at Fireman’s Park in Elkhart Lake back in the day, and later ran L & H Bar which was located on the corner of STH 67 and FF north of Elkhart Lake until highway improvements claimed the site. Barbie got her start helping at both of those businesses, and remarked that folks said her mom served the best steaks in Sheboygan County at the L & H.

Barbie was married to Frances, living in New Holstein and babysitting in her home for many of New Holstein’s teachers when her daughter, a friend of Debbie Mc Carey, encouraged her to apply to cook for the newly opened MC’s Pub. Debbie and Jeff were quick to hire Barbie, word spread about the great food at MC’s, and business boomed.

(Please see the September 10 issue of the Tri-County News for more on this story.)

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