In May, after owning Green Acres for nearly 30 years, Ted and Amy Klein sold the popular Sauk City restaurant and bid a fond farewell to the staff and clientele they have come to consider extended family.
“It wasn’t something we were persuing,” said Ted Klein. “The opportunity was just suddenly there.”
There’s no need to worry; you won’t see any big changes at Green Acres. New owners Dan and Kris Cunningham said they plan to continue doing the things people love about Green Acres.
“Green Acres is a very successful restaurant,” Dan Cunningham said. “We will continue to offer great steaks, fish fry, nightly specials and great service.”
The Cunninghams, who also own Fish Tales in Lodi, had been looking for another restaurant to buy. Ultimately it was the history behind Green Acres that attracted them to the site.
“A stage coach shop, general store, tavern and many decades as a restaurant and dance hall ... there are a lot of great memories from those days people have shared and we have seen through the Sauk Prairie Area Historical Society,” Dan Cunningham said. “We’ve been in touch with the family members that ran the business back in the 1940’s. It’s been at the heart of Sauk and Roxbury’s history for well over a century.”
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The Kleins assumed management of the restaurant in 1986 and purchased it a few years later. Green Acres will always be a special place for the Kleins, it’s where they first met. While Ted and Amy will be around should questions arise, only Amy will still work there on a part-time basis.
“We hoped that anybody who purchased it would consider our employees — they are very important to us,” Ted Klein said.
While there won’t be any drastic changes to Green Acres, Dan Cunningham said customers will see new items introduced to the menu and wine list.
“There is so much potential at Green Acres to freshen it up and continue its reputation as a great Wisconsin supper club,” Dan Cunningham said. “We are listening to our customer’s suggestions and there’s a great team in the kitchen. Many of the things we are looking to update initially are behind the scenes.”
Dan Cunningham was a corporate leader and manager for a large insurance company before deciding to get into the restaurant business. Kris Cunningham spent most of her childhood at her family-owned tavern and dance hall in Northeast Wisconsin. Both originally from Wisconsin, the couple spent some time in California before returning to the Badger state, settling into the Sauk Prairie community.
“When our daughter Evelyn was born we wanted to move back to be closer to family in Wisconsin and own our own business,” Dan Cunningham said. “We knew we wanted to live in the Sauk Prairie community and raise our family here.”