The Rivers Eatery

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.”  Robert Louis Stevenson

Fall Update – October 17, 2020

We made it through a full Summer and Fall of Covid.  This morning the yard is snow covered and the remaining tables and chairs are ready to be put away.  As always we like to share some thoughts with you on our business as we change seasons since you have helped us build and shape it over the years.

2020 has been totally unpredictable.  Pie sales were at a record high.  Yes, who would have thought a pie shop in a town the size of Cable could thrive during a pandemic.  We think Steve Tilford, “Tilly”, would be proud to have his name on our pies.  We certainly are.

The Rivers Eatery made as many pizzas in the summer of 2020 as any other year.  However, due to Covid we had greatly reduced beer and wine sales.  Actually, we sold a lot of beer and wine, but as you may have noticed we sold them at grocery store prices.   In fact, we sold one variety of wine by the bottle for the same price one area restaurant sold that wine by the glass.  But we made a lot of people happy.

Speaking of happy, thank you for being so respectful and appreciative this summer.  It took a while for people to understand how our system worked, but once folks came to the realities of the new world, they were great.  You were very generous to our staff who wore masks from the moment they walked in the door until we shut down the oven regardless of how hot it was in the building or if no one else was around.  They wore them in the basement, in the yard and in the closet.  They also got the benefit of watching many thousands of pizzas go out the door with happy customers.  It is the perfect antidote for the negativity that can run us down if we let it.

So, our most sincere thank you to all of you!  You should be proud of yourselves.  Your kindness and that pause as you went out the door to catch someone’s eye so you could say “thank you” was well-received.  Many of you purchased pizza and /or pie every week.  Some of you dined with us multiple times a week.  Know that our staff who came off unemployment in a time of uncertainty is making good use of the money they earned this summer.  They all have new dreams and are putting foundations under them.

Next year Cable will have a new bar and restaurant in town.  Having been a part of the process since the beginning, we can assure you that the new business will be built on respect for each other and our enjoyment of the north woods.  Make plans for Cable to be a part of your lives as we emerge from this virus.  You won’t be disappointed.  In addition to being amazing businesses, did you know Redbery Books (Maureen Palmer), Tilly’s Pies (Beth Endersbe), The Brick House Cafe (Heather Ludzack), Cable Cafe (Jamie Roberts), Velo Cafe (Deneen Carpenter) R Place Cafe (Cricket Withington), Cable Laundromat (Cheryl Rondeau), The Sweet Exchange (Amy Byrd), Whispering Pines (Lora Vanderploeg), My Villa (Linda Podvin) and Cable Chiropractic (Brenda Brueske) are all women owned and operated?  Could this be why some say Cable is “cool”?

We will be back at it in December.  Covid, weather and ordinances will determine exactly when.  We will keep you posted.  In the mean time, treat those you meet with the same respect and kindness you showed us this summer.  We can assure you it will make a big difference in their lives.  See you soon.

Rivers Eatery Hours Fall Hours Until October 17 

Wednesday 4:30 – 8:00
Thursday 4:30 – 8:00
Friday 4:30 – 8:00
Saturday 12 – 8:00

Tilly’s Pies Walk up Window Hours September 7 – October 17

Friday 12 – 4:30
Saturday 12 – 8:00
Whole pies can also be ordered online at for pickup at The Rivers eatery during Rivers’ business hours.

The past, the present and the future of The Rivers Eatery and Tilly’s Pies – September 1, 2020.

Thanks to everyone that found our system to be a safe and high-quality choice for dining out. When our season began in May after the shutdown, we made plans for a slow and safe summer. We had planned to liquidate assets to supplement cash flow. Then an interesting thing happened. People decided that if they had to be confined to an area, the Northwoods was a pretty good place to be. And, so they came.

At first, we had quite a few people ask why we were drinking the kool aid, why we were not open for indoor dining, why we were online and phone ordering only and why the bar was closed. We got it. We wanted to be open as usual too. It cost us tens of thousands of dollars to not have bar service. But it was the right thing to do. Our plans were less about the one weekend someone had rented a cabin in the area than it was about having a sustainable plan. It is possible we may have lost some customers this summer. But we also saw people return week after week to eat pizza. It was very encouraging.

So, in the end we measured our pizza and pie volume in thousands not hundreds, no funds were liquidated. Our Rivers Eatery staff who left lucrative unemployment to return to work earned substantial money this summer.

We will continue our current model until October 17, with some reduction in hours at Tilly’s Pies, then we will take a break for a month or so. While business has been brisk (a pizza every 90 seconds for 3 months), breathing through a mask and no real customer interaction has left us longing for something more deeply stimulating. So, we will take some time to rejuvenate and design a plan for the next 6 months.

We will be open all winter as usual and we believe we will thrive. We have everything it takes to be a successful business regardless of the environment: A values driven vision; a great product; a predictable process; and a talented and committed staff.

As for the longer term, we are doubling down on the future of our businesses and Cable – no not with PPP funds, we didn’t take any, rather with our own money, time and belief in people; the outdoors; and people’s innate desire for predictable thoughts and behavior.

Thank you for trusting your friends and family with us this summer. We will celebrate together someday soon. In the meantime, stay close to the ones you love and stay close to nature.

Get oriented.  Then visit and

  • The Rivers Eatery will be open for online and phone ordering and takeout only
  • Tilly’s Pies will be open for walk up window service for pie slices, ice cream, soft drinks and a limited number of whole pies each day.
  • We will not have indoor seating or service at Tilly’s or Rivers this summer.  If you would like a whole pie you may want to order them in advance online at Tilly’s Pies online store.  They are selling like hot cakes…er, pies. 
  • Rivers Eatery is credit card only this summer.  No cash. Tilly’s allows both. 
  • Rivers Eatery is now offering a larger selection of beer by the can and wine by the bottle on line or by phone.  We will not be offering bar service this summerNo walk up ordering.  Bring your phone. 
  • We have limited seating in the patio and yard area.  Due to recommended spacing we have seating for about 40.  We are not taking reservations and will not guarantee that the neighboring table feels the same about safety as you do.  We will be wiping the tables down with sanitizer.  Behave yourself.  Most of our issues have come from people dining outside.

Give the online a shot.  People seem to like it.  If you are looking for inside dining with drinks, check the website for bars and restaurants that are offering full service.  We understand people are enjoying that experience.  Our challenge is that we serve a person every 2 minutes.  In order to meet our area’s demands during this crisis, orders have to be take on line or by phone.

Tilly's Hours 
Wednesday Thursday Friday 1-8
Saturday 12 - 8
Rivers Eatery Hours
Wednesday Thursday Friday 4:30 - 8
Saturday 12 -8

To order Tilly’s Pies visit Tilly’s Pies Online Store.  Pies can be ordered online, a limited number of whole pies are also available each day at the Tilly’s walk up window.  Phone orders will not be accepted for Tilly’s.  Scheduled pickups will be at Tilly’s during business hours.

You can now order Rivers Eatery items two ways: 

Online at or by phone at 715-580-1055.

Ordering online at

  • Over 50 of our most popular items, including pizzas, salads, rocks, breads, soft drinks and Bent Paddle, Castle Danger and Earthrider beer are available online.
  • Place your order, specify a time and stop by to pick your items up.
  • If you lack cell service and can’t place an online or phone order, stop by our hotspot in the Rivers Eatery parking lot, login and place your order.
  • All orders are credit card only.  For safety reasons, we will not accept in-store orders of any kind.
  • We will retain your order information so your next visit is even easier.

Ordering Rivers Eatery items by phone at 715-580-1055.

  1. Review our menu.
  2. Have your order ready.
  3. Give us a call.
  4. We’ll answer calls in the order they are received.  Do not leave your order in voicemail.
  5. Specify your pickup time.
  6. Pay by card.
  7. Stop by and pick up your order.

A few rules:

  1. For the safety of you, your family and our staff we are not currently allowing in store dining and all purchases must be made online or by phone.
  2. Park on the street or in The Ideal Market parking lot.
  3. Follow the guides to the first patio door.
  4. Maintain social distancing while you wait.  Your order will be placed on one of our tables.  Walk thru to see if your order is ready.  If not we will let you know when to expect it.  We are usually within 5 to 10 minutes of your pickup time.  If you arrive before your pizza is done, we will ask you to step into the waiting area until your order is ready.
  5. Follow the guides out the double doors and back to your car, bike or atv.

A word on gift certificates.  Thanks to our wonderful customers and supporters many of you will be using gift certificates.  Since certificates have been generated in many forms to meet many promotions, you will need to call your order in to use your paper gift certificates.  During your order, we will deduct what you owe from your gift certificate or apply your gift certificate to what you owe.

The Rivers Eatery Perspective on the Coronavirus and The Restaurant Business. 

We have been blogging to ourselves on a website we never publish about the small business economy on a regular basis since the beginning of the Coronavirus just to process our thoughts in this ever changing environment.  We will spare you our philosophical ramblings, but we will share a couple of thoughts about where we are and where we are headed so that your experience at The Rivers Eatery makes some sense to you.  Please keep in mind, every small business is different.  We are confident that every business you visit is dealing with issues you would never imagine unless you have run a largely seasonal business in an area where the nearest town of 10,000 is 60 miles away during an economic and health crisis.

In February and March of 2020 we were in full stride after 12 years in the restaurant business.  We had just served thousands of visiting skiers, bikers and homeowners.  We hosted tap takeovers, musicians, speakers and many celebrations in our warm building.  Then came the virus.

As you know, restaurants have been hit particularly hard, and here in Cable we depend on the summer months for up to 75% of our income.  It will be a tough go for many businesses.  Some don’t even know that yet.  Yes, we will all be busy – Kind of like a bee hive after it gets kicked over.  It gets real busy.  Being busy doesn’t always mean the bees will make more honey however.

Nearly every business in our area has redesigned their processes and offerings several times already.  As recently as a week before our planned opening for summer, the Wisconsin Supreme Court said we can legally slobber on each other in public again!  :0 Since we spent 2 months deciding how to roll out a to go menu we think we will stick to our plan for a while.

We have heard from many of you that you have always counted on The Rivers Eatery to follow safe food handling.  You can rest assured we will execute a process that keeps you, your family and our staff safe.  If you do feel the need to share your vapors with others while you eat, those options have begun to present themselves.  Our challenge is, we don’t know who you share a table with before you come to The Rivers Eatery.  Therefore, our relationship will temporarily be what we have always detested in business, a transaction.  We will do our best to make your transaction as efficient, friendly, and supportive as possible.

Don’t count us out of the fun.  As soon as we feel we can execute a safe outdoor or indoor seating arrangement we will open up again in some fashion.  We have some ideas!

In the meantime, enjoy our online menu at

Be patient!  Great times are ahead.  We have personal and professional goals beyond 2020 and have put things in place for those things to become a reality.  The Rivers Eatery and Tilly’s Pies will survive the summer and thrive again in 2021 regardless of the virus.  You have may have heard us say we only put our foot on the gas when we know where we are going.  We are beginning to know where that is.  In the meantime we subscribe to the business adage “those who act last finish first.”  We are taking our time.  Thank you for keeping the faith.

Online Gift Certificates Now Available for Tilly’s Pies and The Rivers Eatery

You can now give the gift of a Tilly’s pie or a Rivers Eatery Pizza online.  To order visit Gift Certificates.

Thank you!

Thank you to the thousands…yes, thousands who found their way to our little pizza place behind a bookstore in a town of 800 (50 miles from the nearest town over 10,000) this February. We often refer to the experience of watching our customers enjoy their friends and family as “watching the movie”.  The movie we watched this winter showed us the future is bright for Cable and our community, and for family and friendship.  Thanks also to our staff.  They are incredible!  Buy yourself a beer and watch them do their jobs.  It’s a great investment.

Online Gift Certificates Now Available for Tilly’s Pies and The Rivers Eatery

You can now give the gift of a Tilly’s pie or a Rivers Eatery Pizza online.  To order visit Gift Certificates.

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