Uncle Ed's BBQ Grill has been owned and operated by the Klein Family since 1962, previously the Harbor Lights. We changed our name for simplicity and name recognition in the market place. We have our own Uncle Ed's Backyard BBQ Sauce and Marinade in local area stores, and some area restaurants. We are also in several local area festivals. Try us out for catering either in your home, for your company event, or, if a day on the lake is what you're looking for, check out our pontoon and rowboat rentals. Powers Lake is a beautiful place to spend your days, enjoy a day with us. We are open all year round.
The old building was about 100 years old when it was donated to the fire department. It stood on several different foundations which gave it its unique floor structure. The perimeter was supported by cedar posts and cinderblock. A flood in the year 2000 seriously damaged this foundation, causing it to settle 6 inches in 6 months. The old building never stopped business for the 100 years of service it was here (this has always been a place for merriment). The old building consisted of 5 different additions, all having their own unique structure and foundational support. The floor was made of virgin maple, estimated to be at least 3 to 400 years old. That would date it from sapling, to 1602 (when this floor started growing as trees). The United States were founded in 1776 (for perspective).
Harbor Lights Restaurant, Powers Lake WI, Labor Day Weekend 1988.
A weekend that that was a total flop as a promotion for the family restaurant. Our first annual rib roast looked like it might be our last. There were several factors, we were using beef ribs, the weather didn't cooperate very well, and the sauce that we got from our supplier was just not cuttin' it! So I started looking around for a good recipe for BBQ Sauce. (After finding nothing in the market that we thought would work.) We experimented with some 228 different recipes. Late one night, I put away my experiment, tucked the recipe into my shirt pocket, and went home dog-tired. I went to work the following morning, tasted the concoction, wow, this one could work, now where's that recipe? Uh oh. The washing machine! I rushed home only to find the machine had finished its load. I got the shirt out, carefully unfolded the recipe, and tried to copy what I could from the ink-streaked paper. Some was still legible, some was not, so I made another batch. It worked!
The new building sits on 27, 10 inch pilings each 81 feet down (for a perspective of what this looks like, go to the north corner of the building, and look at the new utility pole. Imagine 2 of those one on top of the other, and add 1 foot. That is 81 feet). These piles are filled with concrete. There is 14 inches of structural steel on top of the piles. Then there is 12 inches of Span Crete (this is the same material that is used to make road bridges) on top of that. The building is all 2x6 construction, with custom truss work supporting the roof.
The floor and the wainscot are from the old building. All of the trim was made by the Klein family personally. The bar consists of red oak, and the medallions are made from cherry, maple, and black walnut. The bar was also made by the Klein family. The kitchen has the best equipment that is available on the market at the time, and is air conditioned separately from the dining room.
We hope you enjoy your time with us, we have done our very best to give the area something we all can be very proud of. We also designed the restaurant with comfort and ease in mind. This is the very best that we have to offer. Thank you for coming, we hope to see you soon.
Over the next two years we tested this recipe with everyone we knew. More and more people were coming to the restaurant to buy the sauce and were asking us to put it into stores! Now we had to come up with a name. The only things I could think of were my nephew and niece and the fact that this recipe was truly born in our backyard. Our logo is a grill with a the weapons every meat burning person knows well - the fork and tongs. We wanted to convey what we all are by nature - Backyard Cooks.
By 1990 we test marketed it in the Dane, Racine, and Kenosha County Fairs. We had some very positive results. We went in with rack ribs, chicken and garlic bread and sold the sauce on the side. The rib sandwich was actually a mistake, but that's another story!
By 1993, I went to the local store to see if they were interested in taking us on. That was Speigelhoff's Pick-N-Save in Burlington. We sold all that we brought in, and the manager re-ordered! We soon were able to get two more stores and started increasing production. We soon developed 30+ private and corporate stores and were doing several special events over the year.
That brings us to where we are today, where our future is not only bright, but tasty too! Our commitment is to our customers first, who, if not for their support, we would never have been able to exist. Thank you, all of you, for all your support.
No matter how young or old, pro or novice on the grill or in the kitchen, just remember you're always welcome in our backyard.
-- Uncle Ed and Family.