The Rivers Eatery

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

Stone Oven Pizza. Salads. Hot Appetizers. Craft Beers. Wine. Indoor seating for 100. Outdoor Seating for 80.

Hours for September 22 – October 23, 2021

Wednesday 5-8

Thursday 5-8

Friday 5-8

*Saturday 4-8

Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

September 22 Update

We’ve kept you up to date for 18 months of kooky COVID news. We are now seeing pretty significant supply issues. We have made plenty of adjustments and are still able to bake most of our pies and all but one of our pizzas. This week we will be reducing our hours and the number of appetizers due to staff shortages. Its not so much that we are short staffed, though we had two of our best return to their winter homes this week, but business is booming. We have as much staff as ever, it’s just really busy. We are appreciative. It’s hard to find quality food at a reasonable price served in a timely matter. Thanks for keeping the faith. We will go as long into October as possible as long as we can get supplies and keep staffed. We will close hard in November and return in December.

September 12 Update

Thank you to all who attended the O.A.R, Javier Treo, Al Church music event on September 11. It was a magical night in the little village. A special thank you to The Portage Bar for creating, sponsoring and hosting the amazing event and to the Town of Cable. law enforcement, security and volunteers for enabling a safe and efficient environment.

August 8 Update.

What a wonderful Summer! Yesterday I wasn’t sure if I was in Cable WI as I walked across the street to Rondeaus. The town was really humming. We were fortunate to have built a business 15 years ago to accommodate large groups of people in a very short period of time. It is somewhat satisfying when a group of 15 walks in knowing they will be drinking a beverage in minutes and eating a stone over pizza soon after.

The summer hasn’t been without challenges however. We are just beginning to see some shortages and we can see people are getting a little nervous about masks, vaccines and returning to school and work. As a business that has served over 10,000 customers face to face this summer, I would encourage you to carry the peace and joy with you that you had this spring when we could all finally take off our masks and be together again. Hang in there. This is life. It’s all what we make of it. So make it the best it can be. And thank you for sharing your friends and family with us. We hope they felt respected.

I know you didn’t come to the webpage for a sermon. You just want to know when we are open. So here goes:

July 7 Update

Cable is rockin’. We’ve had a record May, June and July at both Rivers and Tilly’s. The streets are buzzing as existing businesses have reopened and new businesses have joined the fun. We have employed more staff than at any other time in our 14 years (we have more than 400 staff hours per week). We realize it seems like we should be open more days and hours, but we are committed to a consistent model that is sustainable for our core staff and our personal lifestyle. One of the challenges the Cable Area will face as people continue to travel and Cable continues to be discovered will be setting proper expectations. As the town gets busier it will seem that all businesses should be open 7 days a week to meet the demand. Unfortunately, this area is sparsely populated and staffing will be a problem. We think the best solution is more businesses, not more hours. That way each business can hire long term staff and provide them with steady work rather than carry lots of seasonal staff (which don’t exist) and try to serve customers from 10 am to 10 pm 7 days a week. Frankly, this is not a problem. It works wonderfully.

With those thoughts in mind, please note the following:

  1. Rivers Eatery Hours have changed on Saturday to 4-8, last order at 8:00.
  2. For those looking for another Saturday lunch option, we have 4 great cafe’s in town serving until 2 pm on Saturday and The Portage Bar on the corner of US 63 and M is now hosting a Saturday Brunch.
  3. The Rivers Eatery and Tilly’s Pies will be closed August 26 thru the 29th while Mick officiates a wedding (This is also becoming a high demand item. Book early!) and the rest of the crew takes a rare summer break.
  4. We will be open additional hours during holiday and event weekends.

Thank you for understanding our business model. We feel is consistent with the reason we opened the Rivers in 2008 and Tilly’s in 2018 and we believe is a sustainable model for new businesses.

You will have 3 ways to order:

  1.  In person using the method used to order the first 250,000 pizzas we made.  Fill out a menu and bring it to the till.  Order your drinks at that time as well.  We have indoor seating for 90.
  2. Online at Riverstogo.com.  This is a contact free method of ordering that can be used for takeout or outdoor dining.
  3. By phone at 715-580-1055 for those that don’t like technology or who love to talk to Beth.

Tilly’s Pies will be open for online orders at Tillyspies.com almost anytime for pickup during Tilly’s Pie Hours.

Crisis? Email admin@theidealmarket.com

Past ramblings for posterity and your enjoyment

The future.

The Rivers Eatery began in 2008 as a place of celebration, music, and the sharing of a drink and food with friends.  For the past year we have been none of that.  Through necessity we became a pizza dispensary.  This spring that will change.  We are committed to restoring The Rivers Eatery to its old self.

We believe by spring the majority of people will have received the vaccine or contracted the virus, as well as learned some COVID-safe behaviors. 

While we can’t say exactly what the logistics will look like, we can promise we will again be serving pints of our area’s best beers, quality wines at a reasonable price, and the area’s best stone oven pizza in a welcoming and fun atmosphere.  We anticipate limited indoor seating, possibly a few seats at the bar, a safe online ordering system with contact free service for takeout for those that prefer it, and lots of outdoor seating.

More than you may want to know or hear.

When we do reopen, we ask for your continued kindness and respect.  You see, our staff has come to work every shift for the past year with a mask on.  They wore their masks to the grocery store, to the laundromat, and the gas station so they wouldn’t bring a virus back to you and me the next day.  After their shift they went straight home.  And never once a complaint.  We have high school seniors who had no prom, no homecoming, no graduation ceremonies.  We have college students that do their schoolwork in the bedroom their parents had hoped to paint when they left.  We have twenty and thirty somethings who have put their dreams of homeownership and travel on hold due to uncertainty and regulations. 

Every day I am inspired not only by our staffs’ idealism, – they have plenty of that, but even more so by their realism.  They have a patience and perspective I had not anticipated and it gives me hope.

So to our fellow fifty and sixty somethings who have already lived the American dream, its not the end of the world if your beer comes to you in a can instead of a glass, relax and know that we will be doing everything we can to serve quality food at a reasonable price in a great atmosphere based on what science and politics dictate this spring.

Thank you for how you have treated us this winter and for your continued business.  As we have said before, we will return the favor and kindness very soon in ways that we hope will fill your cup as you have filled ours.

See you in May. In the meantime be good to yourself and stay close to nature.

Our thoughts for Winter 2021

We are quite aware that many bars and restaurants are allowing for indoor seating. We have chosen not to. Freedom to choose is why we became entrepreneurs 30 years ago. Don’t take it personally.

Operating a restaurant and bar in a remote area during COVID and tumultuous times is challenging. Its like playing chess. Each business has their own strategy. Some are winning. Some are still playing but may soon be in checkmate. Others have already surrendered. We are doing well.

Thank you!

Most of our customers have been very gracious during the last 12 months. We know it has not been easy. We apologize for any inconveniences we have caused by not communicating more effectively. There are a lot of moving parts. But you are eating some of the country’s best pizza and pie in a town of 800, 60 miles from a any town over 3,000, from an online menu that is comparable to an urban restaurant, prepared by staff who have been with us an average of 5 years. We are very proud of that.

Another Birkie in the Books

Thank you for another great – albeit different, Birkie. We were down 50%, but that is off an all-time high last year and most of the lost sales were beer and wine. We know how to fix that!

Pie sales were up. That trend began the day we opened. That’s good for all of us!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 riverstogo.com

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.

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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