The historic Red Circle Innrestaurant and event venue in Nashotah, which is considered Wisconsin's oldest restaurant, has been acquired by a subsidiary of Beloit-based Hendricks Commercial Properties, founded by billionaire Diane Hendricks.
That subsidiary, Geronimo Hospitality Group, has taken over ownership and operations of Red Circle Inn from Norman and Martha Eckstaedt, who had run the fine-dining establishment since 1993.
The property, at N44 W33013 Watertown Plank Road, was recently sold to Hendricks Commercial Properties for $2.23 million, according to state records.
Opened in 1848, the Red Circle Inn has long been known for its high-end menu of hand-cut steaks, fresh seafood and award-winning wine list. Past owners include Frederick Pabst and later Aat Groenevelt, the owner and founder of Provimi Veal. Diners can still order drinks at the restaurant's original Pabst bar, built in 1889.
"Martha and I have been very blessed to be the caretakers of The Inn for the past 29 years," Norman Eckstaedt said in a statement. "The events, the guests and the staff are all most memorable but the relationships and friendships that have been built over these many years are priceless and will endure forever. We are both looking forward to the next exciting chapter that Geronimo Hospitality will write."
Geronimo will continue to operate Red Circle Inn as a restaurant and event venue, with plans for interior and exterior improvements throughout the property. Updated decor and furnishings will pay tribute to Red Circle Inn’s storied past, while incorporating modern amenities, according to a news release. The building includes several private event spaces for groups of up to 240 people.
"We couldn’t be more excited to add Red Circle Inn to our collection of hospitality brands. It’s a special place with a great story and incredible staff," said Jeff Whiteman, chief operating officer at Geronimo Hospitality Group. "We’re proud to usher in a new era for Red Circle Inn, honoring its history and paving the way for all that’s to come."
The dining room at Red Circle Inn is temporarily closed for improvements and will reopen later this fall. The event venue remains open for private events during the refresh.
Geronimo Hospitality Group was founded in 2013 when Diane Hendricks and her late husband Ken purchased the Beloit Inn in downtown Beloit and transformed it into Ironworks Hotel and Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint. The company has since expanded into a portfolio of hospitality brands, including The Delafield Hotel, I.d., Blue Collar Coffee and be FITNESS in Delafield, and others in Beloit, Indianapolis, and Boise, Idaho.