NewsLocal NewsMac Discovers Northeast Wisconsin


Family-owned business stands the test of time

Five generations of one family have been able to keep Joe Rouer's thriving for nearly 70 years in Luxemburg.
Joe Rouer's offers hand-patted, pan-fried burgers
Posted at 4:15 AM, May 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-19 18:45:31-04

LUXEMBURG (NBC 26) — A family-owned business in Luxemburg has been thriving for decades, and the owners say the secret to their success has been simple.

They have fun, they enjoy being around each other, and they've been cooking their burgers the same way for years.

Joe Rouer's in Luxemburg

The owners say a lot of hard work goes into each patty, but they credit their grandparents for the original recipe.

Mike Bultman says Joe Rouer's tends to get busier during the summer season when more people are passing through Luxemburg to Door County, but they've been recently staying busy throughout the entire year.

Aside from homemade, pan-fried burgers, Joe Rouer's also makes a number of homemade desserts that keep customers coming back for more.

Joe Rouer's owner Mike Bultman says he's been serving his customers for decades, and he knows what most of them like before they even have to ask.

Bultman's grandparents bought the bar in 1952, and it's been a family-owned operation ever since.

Joe Rouer's Bar

"As long as we can keep doing what we're doing, and we're happy doing it, and have a good time and our health is there, we'll keep doing it," Bultman said.

But Joe Rouer's wasn't always known for its burgers.

Mike's mother, Betty, said it all happened on a lunch hour back when shots were a quarter, and you could buy a beer for 10 cents.

"And one day a fella came here and had forgotten his lunch, and he said, 'Joe, would you be willing to make me a burger?' And, he said, 'sure, I can do that.' And, when he brought it out, he said, 'this is the best burger I've ever had. Joe, I really wish you would consider making burgers at this place,' and that's how it started, and it just went from one thing to another," Betty Bultman said.

Joe Rouer's

The rest is history. Bultman was also willing to share the family secret.

"You know, they're pan-fried. They're not grilled. It's a different flavor. They hold their flavor in, and we do so many a day, that after a while the pans get nice and seasoned well. I like them a little bit better in the afternoon or at night, because the pans are really seasoned," Mike Bultman said.

Mike also says each patty is hand patted every morning before it's pan fried and served.

Joe Rouer's burgers are hand patted each morning

As for Joe Rouer's success through the years, Betty says it best.

"It was a family thing, but we all got along, because we were so busy. We couldn't argue. We didn't have time," Betty said.