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Mullen’s Dairy Bar & Eatery

Founded 1932

 

212 W Main

 

 

 

1843      MULLEN FAMILY DATES BACK TO 1843

Widow Mrs. Mary Mullen and seven sons immigrated from Ireland and settled on the present F. R. Mullen farm (now operated by Robert Wilke family).  The land was purchased from the Government.  This same farm has remained in the possession of the Mullen's through four generations (111 years).

 

1911

11 16       THE MULLEN DAIRY

Frank R. Mullen Sr.  has opened a dairy and milk route in connection with his other farm interests southwest of this city.  He is now supplying butter, milk and cream daily to a large number of customers in Watertown, and all say Frank’s butter, milk and cream are the very best to be had.   WG

 

1932      MULLEN’S DAIRY BAR FOUNDED

 

In 1932 (depression years) Frank R. Mullen and sons, seeking a better market for the milk produced on the Mullen farm, started the Mullen Dairy which has progressed and is now Watertown's only Grade A milk bottler.

 

Started in 1932 by Frank R. Mullen (4th generation) and two sons, Frank R. Jr. and Weber Mullen.  Joined in 1934 by third son Gerald.  A fourth son, Bernard is affiliated with Guardian Life Insurance Company. (Fifth generation).

 

By 1954 the fifth generation of Mullen’s operated Watertown's favorite ice cream bar and dairy processing plant.

 

1945

DAIRY TALES / DICKY & DAISY

08 16            

 

1951      HOME DELIVERY

  

 

1954      IF IT’S MILK . . . IT’S MULLEN’S

   City Centennial ad

 

c1970

VANISHED

There was a time when the city had any number of ice cream parlors and among those were the A. E. Baumann ice cream parlor and candy kitchen which was located at 210 West Main Street, E. Herro and Son at 210 Main Street, William Pappas at 417 Main Street, George Spyros at 105 Main Street, Miss Abbie Norton at 614 West Main Street and Mrs. Marie Vick at 107 West Main Street.  And of course, there was the Edward M. O’Byrne establishment, also in Main Street, and the O’Bryne and Kuehn Candy Co.  There also were others.

 

The old ice cream parlor was a vital community institution.  It afforded a pleasant and relaxing place to meet friends, enjoy ice cream and good homemade candies and it’s too bad that it is now just another part of a vanished era.

 

Cross Reference:  O’Byrne/Spyros Ice Cream: 

10 28 1915  /  O’Byrne Candy and Ice Cream:  Edward M. O’Byrne has disposed of his retail candy and ice cream business at 104 [105?] Main Street to Spyros Bros., who also conduct a similar business at Wausau, Wis.  Mr. O’Bryne has very successfully conducted this business for the past five years and for a year past has also conducted a wholesale business on Second Street, which he will continue and enlarge the same.  This brand of business has assumed large proportions and he will devote his entire time to it in the future.  Spyros Bros. have already taken possession of the retail business and are making several fine improvements in it.  They come to our city well recommended and our people wish them success.   WG

 

c1970

 

 

1976

WILLIAM “BILL” MULLEN

image1

Mullen’s Dairy was started by the grandfather of William Mullen in.  At that time milk was delivered house to house by horse and buggy, with deliveries starting at 4 a.m. daily.

 

Over the years there have been at least 14 dairies operating in Watertown, and Mullen’s is the last one to survive.

 

The local dairy receives all of its milk for processing from six area farmers.  Milk is processed three days a week and the firm also makes its own ice cream.  Mullen’s is one of only a few dairies in the state that still uses glass bottles in distributing the product.

 

Mullen purchased the dairy earlier this year from his two uncles, Jerry and Frank.  His father, the late Weber Mullen, had also been a partner in the business until his death.

 

A 1961 graduate of Watertown High School, Mullen attended Arizona State University on a basketball scholarship.  He said he did not like big time college basketball and as a result at the end of the first semester he transferred to Carroll College in Waukesha where he lettered in basketball and track and received his bachelors degree in 1965.

 

Following graduation from Carroll he was employed by Employers Mutual of Wausau as an insurance investigator.  After three years working for Employers in the Chicago area, he accepted a position with Dura Containers, Inc., which deals in corrugated packaging.  He remained with Dura for eight years, living in Mount Vernon, IL., before returning to Watertown this year to operate the business.

 

Mullen is married to the former Karla Johnson of Watertown.  They reside at 208 South Washington Street with their three children, Tiffany 9, Bill, Jr. 8, and Andrew 3.   WDT

 

1977

  

 

1980

10 25       MULLEN’S DAIRY TERMINATES HOME DELIVERY

So many things aren’t like they used to be.  Delivery of milk in Watertown won’t be like it used to be after the end of October.  Mullen’s Dairy will terminate home delivery, a business it has pursued since 1932.  Gone are the days of everyone having milk boxes, of cream rising to the top of the returnable milk bottles and on winter days of an icy column pushing the cap off the bottle as it expands.  Oct. 31 will also mark the retirement of Howard Herold, a man everyone knows as Pinky.  He’s the last one to drive a delivery truck.

 

The firm will still manufacture its own ice cream and is a distributor for Golden Guernsey dairy products.  Milk products will still be sold through the store and Mullen’s plans to continue to deliver wholesale dairy products.   WDT

 

Cross Reference:  Howard Herold (1923-2014).  Died Dec. 23, 2014.  Herold was a 1942 graduate of Watertown High School.  Howard was a veteran of World War II, having entered the Army Air Force in February 1943. He served as a ball turret gunner on B-24s until July 1945 when he was honorably discharged after flying 50 missions. He attained the rank of staff sergeant. Howard was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal and the European Theater Medal with five battle stars.  Upon his discharge he became an employee of Mullen’s Dairy and worked there for 35 years. He was the last door-to-door milk delivery man for Mullen’s.  Hafemeister Funeral Home and Cremation Service 611 E. Main St. Watertown.

 

1984

08 29       SUSAN TESCH, STORE MANAGER

Mrs. Susan Tesch has been named store manager of Mullen's Dairy, 212 West Main Street, Watertown.  She has been employed at the dairy since 1977.  Operating since 1932, Mullen's Dairy offers a complete menu of ice cream treats, along with soups, sandwiches and salads.  The dairy carries a full line of Golden Guernsey dairy products and features their own homemade premium ice cream.  The store is open seven days a week.   WDT

 

2001

01 26       Mullen's Dairy Bar & Eatery Lake Mills will open at 134 E. Lake St. across from Commons Park in April, according to Ron and Gloria Luepke, owners of Mullen's Dairy Bar and Eatery in Watertown.  Mullen's Dairy Bar and Eatery in Watertown will supply ice cream to the Lake Mills business, which will be operated by other owners.  The names of the new owners of the Lake Mills business have not been announced.  The Luepkes own the building where the business will be located.   WDT

 

04 05       Mullen’s Dairy Bar and Eatery has opened at 134 E. Lake St., Lake Mills, across from Commons Park.  A grand opening celebration is being planned for May.  Owner Dean Daubert presides over an authentic soda fountain with shiny fountain heads that people remember from a bygone era.  A large rear mirror evokes visions of Richie, Fonzie and his pals of the 1960s.  The black-and-white squares of the flooring, ceiling fans, and red-and-white checkered tablecloths bring back memories of old-fashioned ice cream parlors and the simple pleasures of yesterday.   WDT

 

10 04       About 15 former employees of Mullen’s Dairy, with their spouses, gathered Sunday afternoon for their first reunion, with the farthest participant coming from Wautoma.  The idea for a reunion came after some past employees began getting together on their own and someone suggested the mini-reunion expand.  The group met at Windwood Country Club for brunch with Gerry Mullen welcoming the guests, Bill Mullen discussing his part in the family business and present owners, Ron and Gloria Luepke, explaining their maintenance of the product line.  “Everyone had a good time reminiscing,” said event coordinator and past employee Earl Lehmann.  “It really was better than I thought it would be. It really turned out very well.”   WDT

 

2006

08 09       NEW OWNERS

A Watertown business that has served the community for 74 years has new owners.  Mullen’s Dairy Bar owners Ron and Gloria Luepke have sold the restaurant to Watertown residents Troy and Shannon Milbrath.  Troy Milbrath, who worked at Mullen’s while he attended high school, told the Daily Times that the purchase of the business has been a dream come true.  Ron and Gloria Luepke owned Mullen’s since 1997, when they purchased it from former owners Bill Mullen and his wife, Karla.  Bill and Karla Mullen became the sole owners of the then family business in 1976.  The restaurant was started by Frank Mullen and his two sons, Frank Jr. and Web, in 1932.    Full WDTimes article  

 

2010

10 04          CHAMBER CLIP

  Video clip   

 

2012      MULLEN’S DAIRY EXPANDS ICE CREAM LINE

Premium Ice Cream Available at Area Grocery Stores.

 

[online press release dated Dec. 1, 2012] - Mullen’s Dairy and Eatery will begin selling its premium quality ice cream under the name, Bucky Badger Ice Cream.  The ice cream will be available at Piggly Wiggly and Breselow’s Family Market in Watertown starting December 1, 2012 with plans to expand into larger markets in 2013.

 

Bucky Badger Ice Cream will be available in five of its signature flavors:  Blue Moon, Vanilla, Chocolate, Mint and Strawberry.  It will be distributed via Emil’s Pizza Distribution.

 

“In this ever changing economic climate we realized the need to expand our business beyond bricks and mortar while not changing anything in the dairy,” said Mullen’s Dairy and Eatery Owner, Troy Milbrath.  “We have 80 years of history manufacturing and selling ice cream and are excited to offer our homemade ice cream via distribution through a brand that is not only known locally, but statewide and beyond.”  Mullen’s has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with L&L Foods, Inc. to manufacture ice cream under the name, Bucky Badger Ice Cream.

 

Mullen’s has been making homemade premium ice cream since 1932. As one of the top 50 Ice Cream destinations in the United States, Mullen’s still makes its ice cream using the same recipe that has tickled the tongues of generations of customers. The dairy is listed as the “Cream of the Crop” in the Sundae Hall of Fame.

 

2015

09 22       STAINED GLASS PANEL UNCOVERED

   Discovered behind large fan above front door.

 

2016

March      MULLEN'S REMODELED

   Aly Lou Photography

After being closed for remodeling, Mullen's is open once again, with a slightly different antique style look.  So many memories made here over the years.

 

09 09       ”MULLEN'S IS MOVING” AFTER 84 YEARS

Page one ad, Watertown Daily Times

 

10 02       FEUD CLOSES MULLEN'S DAIRY BAR; NEW LOCATION SOUGHT

Wisconsin State Journal article, Oct 2, 2016.

 

10 08       MULLEN'S OWNER CHARGED WITH IDENTITY THEFT, CREDIT CARD FRAUD AND FORGERY

Wisconsin State Journal article, Oct 8, 2016.

 

10 13       MULLEN'S DAIRY BAR & EATERY ONLINE AUCTION

“The majority of manufacturing equipment currently installed at Mullen’s Dairy, a Watertown, WI icon for more than 70 years, along with select memorabilia sells at online bidding only event.  This is your only chance to get your hands on some one-of-a-kind items of Watertown history.”    WDT pg 1 ad

 

12 13       NEW OWNERS OF MULLEN'S

Brothers Josh, Adam and Matt Keepman.

 

Ron and Gloria Luepke announced that Kandyman Can, LLC has agreed to purchase the company and all of its assets.  Josh, Matt and Adam Keepman, brothers with roots in the Watertown community, make up Kandyman Can's principal ownership team.

 

Grandfather Erv Keepman Jr. grew up on Second Street in Watertown.  As a young boy, he had a paper route and would come to Mullen's after collecting to enjoy an extra thick chocolate malt with a raw egg on top.

 

Josh Keepman said he and his brothers look to restore Mullen's to its former glory; to do this, the trio have launched an online Kickstarter campaign.

 

Matt Keepman is no stranger to frozen fare. He owns Savoy Sorbet, a company based out of Irving, Texas. After his product was picked up by Wisconsin grocery store Sendick's, he decided to move production within the state.  The Keepman's plan to sell Savoy Sorbet alongside Mullen's traditional ice cream treats.    [ Full article ]

 

2017

01 10       “MAKE MULLEN'S GREAT AGAIN” /  Mullen's Dairy Bar Kickstarter

  Video clip   

 

01 27       MULLEN'S MEMORIES WILL RETURN

WDTimes article   

 

04 24       SIGNAGE PAINTED

   WDTimes photo

 

05 01       MULLEN’S DAIRY BAR REOPENS

   WSJ article  

 

  Video clip       

 

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Cross-References:

Profile of, WDTimes, 06 14 2000

Desktop pen holder

 

 

 

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