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The Fireside, Fort Atkinson, WI (restaurant)

Pages: 1 17 replies

Name:The Fireside
Street: Highway 26
City: Fort Atkinson
State: WI

Description: Most folks know this place from the Black Moai Mug that comes with several different inscriptions. Here is one version from Kingstiedye on Ooga Mooga.

I got this postcard showing the exterior pyramid style hut and some interior pictures of the fireplace theater/bar area and upper/lower dinning areas.

Also saw this postcard photo on ebay showing a more Polynesian looking theme.

There were a few more items listed on a Tiki Marketplace thread a while back:

Coaster from Taboo Dan

Postcards and Matchbook listed by Bigbro.

It looks like this place got a little Poly Pop/Tiki going on for a moment or two.


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2009-11-03 07:34 ]


Dusty, Thanks for posting those views. I have never seen the restaurant before even though I have had the mugs for years. Here's a couple more versions of the mug from my collection. The one on the left is by OMC the one on the right is unmarked but of much better quality. They both need a bath. Thanks again.


Defunct? Nah, according to The Fireside's website it's still there. :)

croe67 posted on Tue, Nov 3, 2009 5:38 AM

Yes, indeed, The Fireside is still alive & kickin'.

I haven't been there, but I don't think there's anything left of the original modernist pyramid built by architect Helmut Ajango, the man behind THE GOBBLER.


Their website does not say anything about the big fire, but it mentions lots of expansion and renovation:

Dick and Betty Klopcic build an intimate, 60’ X 60’ pyramid-shaped restaurant. Naming it The Fireside after the cozy fireplace at its center, they offer the finest foods and exceptional service. People drive for miles and miles every night of the week to experience this unique new restaurant designed by Fort Atkinson architect Helmut Ajango.

1966 to 1972
The restaurant proves to be so popular that the Klopcic family expands it four times during this period to accommodate the ever-increasing demand for dining space

The Fireside restaurant building is joined to another building nearby that had previously housed an art gallery. The Klopcics transform this new space into a spectacular 435 seat theatre-in-the-round.

1992 to 1993
The Fireside Dinner Theatre undertakes a major renovation under the direction of Company President Rick Klopcic. The entire complex is upgraded to consistently welcome several thousand guests each week.

.....and we all know what that means. :(

On 2009-11-03 05:31, Bora Boris wrote:
Defunct? Nah, according to The Fireside's website it's still there. :)


Thanks, I fixed the title. For some reason, I had a hard time putting this post together, like I had never done one before.



No problem DC, you started the post and it needed to be started. Thank you.

Have you been Caroline?

I'm not really a fan of theater or especially dinner theater like anyone would admit that but those things can be fun and if South Pacific were to pop up on the Fireside's schedule sometime in the next few years (It's not on the 2010 schedule) I'd be tempted to fly out there and pass out in my mashed potatoes about halfway through the show. :)


I have been, but just for dinner, not for the show.
I was thinking to call them & see if they are open for Thanksgiving, as maybe we'll head out there again for Turkey Day.
& I'll have to take some pictures this time, too.

We'll also sadly gaze at the empty Gobbler as we drive by on the way to The Fireside...... :cry:
(The 2 restaurants are quite close to each other.)

Another one of those Fireside postcards came up on ebay recently. Unfortunately I was outbid.


We did drive by The Gobbler today.
The very sad new is that it's on the auction block, with the live auction to be held December 12th.
This looks like the likely end of The Gobbler - for good :cry:
Prior to December 12th the 1500+ pieces of petrified wood that line the inside & outside of the entry will be dislodged & sold by the piece :cry:
So....it appears that the sellers are planning for it to be destroyed...

As of today, it was all intact.

Lots of good pictures up here - including panorama shots with narration showing the inside with all of the purple pleather intact:
I am guessing that site will be no more after the action is over.....

& the sad auction details are HERE:

another one (probably) bites the dust.....
:sniff: :sniff:

On 2009-11-26 15:27, croe67 wrote:
Prior to December 12th the 1500+ pieces of petrified wood that line the inside & outside of the entry will be dislodged & sold by the piece :cry:
So....it appears that the sellers are planning for it to be destroyed...

But...but...they are PRAISING the rock on the auction site! They will destroy the building's integrity and it will loose its value even more... Aaaaaah!

What's wrong with people! This place deserves to be saved and preserved, maybe as a Googie/Mid-century modern museum!


[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-11-26 16:48 ]


OK.....one more brief diversion on the Gobbler, since it was by the same architect, but not exactly "tiki"........ - a few pictures....it was dusk & I only had my point & shoot camera - I may go back next week & take my good camera to get some better pictures before they start dismantling the place, but here are a few:

Now, back to the topic at hand - the Fireside - pictures up next :D

That is so sad, it's not like there isn't miles of empty space around it either. Why does it have to go? I guess property tax on an empty building in the middle of nowhere is high, maybe? I wish they could let it sit there empty until the right buyer comes along that will use it properly and in the meantime during the holidays they should put lights on it. :)

What a great building. Such a shame. I hope someone saves it. Anybody got any heyday pics?


We spent Thanksgiving Day at the Fireside this year & it was thoroughly enjoyable. The food was GREAT & the show (Miracle on 34th St.) was quite well done, too.

The remodel from the 90's.......ummmmm......ICK! Awful all around - I have spared you much of that, but it's BAD (e.g, funky mid-century lights replaced with hideous hot air balloons & cheap "tiffany" lamps....). Just bad, bad taste in decor is all I can say.

Fortunately the fabulous architecture of the buildings IS still there - including that original pyramid-shaped structure, and the interior balcony seating area that you see in one of the pictures above. The pyramid is still the heart of the restaurant area. The restaurant holds 1750, so it is sprawling. We were fortunate to eat in the upper floor of the A-Frame part of the building.

I would highly recommend a visit - the food, the show, checking out the foundational architecture - is all worth the trip.

Entering the parking lot......

& here you can see the original pyramid structure - though masked from the outside, with the original entrance covered over as well:

The entry is now around the back of the building:

View of the pyramid wall from inside (sorry about the tiffany lamps & balloon....I tried to spare your eyes!):

You can see some of the angle here, too, as well as the 60's suspended ceiling

& the ponds (there are 2):

And.....they continue to offer polynesian-style drinks.
Alas! no Moai mug!

Thanks for sharing Caroline. It's nice to see it still has some of it's charm and that people are going. Happy Thanksgiving!

Well if is does end up going away I still have a very small piece of the Gobbler. Thanks DC and Caroline for the posts and updates on both locations.


more pics of the gobbler . . .


I've had the pleasure of dining at the Fireside several times as a child, and also once at the Gobbler, all in the early-mid 80's. I don't remember the Fireside too much, other than the really cool lines of the outside and the ceiling inside. The Gobbler on the other hand was amazing. It still had some of the original carpet/vinyl etc. It was so over the top, even as a kid around 6, I was mesmerized by the place. I have a picture from the visit I'll dig up. In the mean time check out this site on the Gobbler.


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