At the time of its operation, the John Ernst Cafe on Ogden Street in Milwaukee was the oldest restaurant in the city.
Although it is now closed, its owner was known for personally greeting every patron who entered the once well-established and reputable eatery.
This tradition of greeting his guests has not been lost elsewhere.
Restaurateur Glenn Braun, owner of Braun’s Ranch Supper Club, Elkhart Lake has made it his practice throughout the years to make his guests feel like family. He does this by greeting them at the door and making conversation with them at their tables.
Braun said this tradition of making visitors feel at home is only one of several traditions for which his restaurant is known.
One of those traditions which lives on is our traditional recipes, said Braun. It all started in 1985 at Cedar Lake Resort, which the Brauns operated for 21 years.
“Our tasty marinated chicken recipe is still one of our major draws at Braun’s Ranch featuring our famous broasted chicken where we serve over 1,500 pieces on Sundays alone,” he said. “The second most popular is our thick juicy pork chops made by head chef Brent Bunting with his version of the right spices to have all the pork chop customers waltz out the door with thumbs up.”
Another top entree is its baked cod. Braun said it is so good, that his wife Bridget orders a “to go” nearly every night as a take-home item.
The Sunday morning brunch draws on average about 300 people. Omelette chef Matt Bornemann prepares the omelette in the presence of customers at the restaurant’s famous omelette station which is included in its $10.99 breakfast buffet.
The breakfast buffet also features Western style scrambled eggs, French toast sticks, sausage links, hash browns, and other breakfast items. Braun draws attention to the restaurant’s famous BBQ ribs, zesty shrimp, and broasted chicken including its homemade traditional 37 year-old chicken dumpling soup recipe which is one of its signature items served five days a week on its huge soup and salad bar put together daily by chef Mike Steiner along with his pastas, cole slaw, cucumber salad, liver paste, smoked salmon and the like.
Customers tell us we have the best soup and salad bar in Sheboygan County, he said.
Fridays draw big numbers
“Fridays are our biggest restaurant night serving between 300-500 people for our all-you-can-eat land and seafood buffet featuring our ever popular crab legs, and fresh prime rib cut to your order in front of you.
“Friday night fare includes our peel and eat cold shrimp, baked cod, talapiascallop stir fry and many more items along with homemade clam chowder soup and salad bar,” Braun said.
At the early bird special from 4-5 p. m. customers receive a ticket worth $3 off the buffet. Patrons can return after 5 p. m. to have a cocktail and the restaurant will still honor the ticket when you come in.
Braun said Saturday night is the restaurant’s prime rib meat lovers buffet along with its tasty pork chops, its world famous Cedar Lake Resort BBQ rib recipe now 37 years in the making along with shrimp, tenderloin tips and more, including the soup and salad bar.
Wednesdays and Thursdays the restaurant offers a $7.95 a-plate pork chop dinner, baked cod and its juicy liver and onion plate smothered in bacon and sauteed onions. These selections are very popular with our local clientele and for an added $2.95 one can enjoy our huge famous soup and salad bar, Braun said.
“We have almost the same staff we started with in February 2011 and have a very happy family bond. I was at Universal Studios in Florida in March and not wanting to go on rides at my age, I was bored so I went to a psychic to pass the time and she told me we have a very successful family business and our staff and customers love it at our restaurant and my son, Glen Jr is a police officer (which is true) and my youngest daughter, Montana, is a daddy’s girl, and she is,” Braun said.
“It was very interesting how she put all this and more in my reading.”
A great experience
“So it has been a great 15-month experience and working with my partner and daughter Chelsea who does the hostessing, busing, serving and so forth and Glen Jr. who does payroll and bartends and my wife Bridget who does it all.
“The same joy is felt working with my older daughter and waitress Tammy, her husband Ken Olig who tends bar, and my three grandchildren who bus and dish wash, Adam, Jacob and Kerri Olig. As an owner, a dad and a grandparent I am so proud to have most of my family around me every week,” he said.
Braun’s Ranch offers free entertainment weekly, from karaoke to live bands. This summer it has offered everything from classic car shows to golf outings to softball tournaments.
Braun said the restaurant runs a bus trip every year for 50 people. “Our first year it was a fun-filled New York trip,” he said. “Last year the destination was Nashville and Dollywood and this year we are heading to Deadwood, S. D. from Oct. 7-13.
“There is never a dull moment at Braun’s Ranch and when you arrive you will be treated like family, because we have a friendly family tradition,” Braun said. “If you don’t believe me, ask my psychic.”