Next Door Pub & Pizzeria
Best Bar/Pub, Best Pizza and Best Casual Dining
For nearly 50 years, Next Door Pub and Pizzeria has been the place in Lake Geneva where locals and vacationers alike go to dine on made-from-scratch dishes. No matter where they hail from, everyone enjoys their extensive menu and comfortable, homey atmosphere, whether they’re seated in the spacious dining room or on the covered front porch.
“We’re a Lake Geneva staple,” says owner Chad Bittner.
The one-story tan building with green awnings lies near Highway 12, just five blocks from Geneva Lake. Under Bittner’s ownership, the building has doubled in size over the past decade. Today, two dining rooms and the bar can seat up to 145 patrons. The most recent addition, a front porch, accommodates another 28 diners.
The pizza is made fresh “from crust to sauce.” For local tastes, the pub serves a “Moo-la Geneva” pizza with a secret five-cheese Wisconsin blend, as well as a Wisconsin Mac & Cheese pizza with cheddar cheese sauce, hickory-smoked bacon, mini noodles, mozzarella, shredded cheddar, and scallions.
But Next Door isn’t only about pizza. In fact, the food items alone make up four pages of the seven-page menu, so that everyone can order a favorite dish – from a spinach salad or the pork rib dinner with roasted vegetables, French fries, coleslaw, served with a choice of soup or salad. Prices are kept family-friendly.
“We are always serving a lot of those items,” Bittner says.
One measure of Next Door Pub and Pizzeria’s popularity is the steadiness of its business throughout the year. The restaurant employs a staff of 63, growing to 68 employees in the summer, when outside dining is available.
The pub has “a very loyal local clientele,” Bittner says, but also welcomes customers who come from as far away as Rockford and Hebron in Illinois, in addition to Janesville, Twin Lakes, Paddock Lake and Kenosha in Wisconsin.
As a gathering place, “sports are pretty much on all the time,” Bittner says. The restaurant hosts an annual Kentucky Derby party, offers live music, concocts beer and bourbon dinners and offers specials each day of the week.
Active in the community, Next Door Pub and Pizzeria partners with local charities, including the Lions Club, the YMCA, Lake Geneva Jaycees, as well as local food banks and churches.
Originally, the restaurant was owned by the Bittner family’s next-door neighbor. The Bittners themselves actually owned a bakery in Lake Geneva at the time, and Chad had been working in restaurants from the time he was 14 years old. When the pub became available for sale in 2005, Bittner was working in the retail industry.
“I was young enough to take some chances,” he says.
For the past 16 years, he’s considered himself a “curator” of the cherished local business.
“We try to do right by everybody,” he says. “We take care of our community, our employees and our customers.”
Bittner attributes Next Door Pub and Pizzeria’s success to “a combination of factors: the friendly smiles and friendly faces of the staff, our outstanding food, the outstanding value and what we do for the community.”
Location: 411 Interchange N, Lake Geneva, WI
nextdoorpub.com | 262-248-9551
Photos by Matt Haas