16-year old self would be pretty darned proud to see him today.
It was back in high school that he first dreamed of being a business owner. At the time, his vision was to own a night club. He even wrote a paper about it (and, Simpson noted, received an A.)
That paper was the spark that ignited the flames of Simpson’s dream, which finally, after years of learning all aspects of the restaurant business, became a reality when Kyle Simpson opened Kyotes Bar & Grill in Belgium earlier this month.
Simpson stands proudly in the building formerly known as Bic’s, as he recounts his journey to get to where he is today. A graduate of Northern Michigan University, he started out his adult life with a marketing degree and a job in banking. To earn a little extra cash, he got a job bar backing and washing dishes at Slim’s in Milwaukee, and then bartending at the Brat House on Old World Third Street. Once he realized his passion for the service industry and the fact that it paid the bills better than his 9 to 5 job, he was hooked.
The next several years brought him a variety of new experiences and key contacts, from serving celebrities like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, and even Vanilla Ice at the Back Court Club at the Bucks arena, to working as the assistant general manager at Bartolotta’s Rumpus Room. “It was amazing,” he said. “Such a great experience. I was in charge of 631 SKUs of alcohol and I could tell you about each one.” Simpson also earned money landscaping, home remodeling and even had a brief stint as a liquor salesman, all skills that prove valuable to his position today, but his passion always came back to bartending.
Hunting with buddies is what brought him to Belgium. He would stop by Bic’s Place to have a drink and check it out, and found himself brainstorming ideas of cool things he could do with the business. “Everything just lined up perfectly- the kind of thing that only happens once or twice in your life, and I decided to pursue it.”
Before he knew it, he was amid preparations to bring his dream to life in Belgium, Wisconsin. He decided to name his sports bar Kyotes (pronounced Ky-o-tees or Kye-otes- patron’s preference!), after his own nickname, earned from a laughing fit he once had while working at Fire Ridge in Grafton.
Fresh paint, refinished wainscoting, and new lights and ceiling tiles are just a few of the updates he made before opening. He also reupholstered the bar and bar tables himself and replaced the tap system to ensure Kyotes would have the coldest beer in town. He power washed the volleyball courts and added eight inches of new sand. He sprung for new speakers and three new TVs to make his new sports bar complete.
He grinned as he opened a new package containing a huge PBR mirror sent from a beer vendor.
“Every day is like Christmas right now.”
The Grand Opening of Kyotes was just Saturday, November 3rd, but Simpson is already loving Belgium. “Thank you to everybody. Everybody’s been so awesome. I apologize if I forget your name. I’m trying to learn 2000 new names. You only have to learn one.”
Kyotes is open Monday through Friday from 3 pm until close. The weekday menu includes daily specials: Mac and Cheese on Monday, Tater Tuesday, Grilled Cheese on Wednesday, Wings on Thursday and a Fish Fry on Friday. On weekends, he opens at 11 am and serves a Kyotes breakfast- eggs, hash browns, sausage and toast.
Simpson is excited to keep a lively schedule at Kyotes. He will keep the activities patrons loved about Bic’s- the wrestling nights, monthly bands, and the volley ball leagues will stay (interested volleyball players can sign up for leagues now at kyotesbar.com). In addition, he hopes to add a skating rink, start an outdoor winter festival with live music, and in spring, add outdoor seating to help make Kyotes both family-friendly and pet-friendly. Shuttle buses to Brewers and Admirals games are also on his list of services to add.
“I just want a community-based place everyone can go, hang out, and have a great time,” Simpson says.
Kyotes is located at 129 Spring Street in Belgium- follow its Facebook page to stay in the loop on the latest Kyotes news.