Traditions Pub to remain a family business

New owner wasn’t first in line to buy the bar, but her kind, warm soul reminds Steffen of his wife

By COREY SCHMIDT

Ozaukee Press staff

Traditions Pub, just west of the Town of Fredonia in Fillmore, will soon be under new ownership. David Steffen is passing the reins over to Jewelia Cook as he awaits a heart transplant.

Cook will be joined by two business partners — her father Michael Gorzynski and her husband Eli. Cook recently gave birth to a daughter, and when preparing for the baby’s arrival Gorzynski wanted Cook to have a six-month plan for after her pregnancy.

Owning her own bar has been a dream of Cook’s since she began working in the business as a teen.

“I remember getting the Facebook Marketplace notification that the price had been lowered,” Cook said. “I sent the link to my dad and told him, ‘This place is everything I’ve ever wanted and more. I can totally see us here.’”

Cook and Gorzynski quickly called Steffen. After being told there was already an offer on the bar, Cook’s heart sank at the thought she had lost her dream business. Steffen offered to meet her at the bar that evening to show her the place anyway.

Steffen immediately knew he wanted her to be his successor because she reminds him of his wife, who has a kind, warm soul.

“She’s very much like my wife,” Steffen said. “Everybody loves my wife. When she comes out, everybody comes out.”

“They both smile too much,” he continued. “She’s a hugger like my wife, too.”

Cook laughed and commented on how sometimes her cheeks hurt from all the smiling.

It was exactly six months after her daughter’s birth when her offer to buy the bar was accepted, she said.

Seeing the two interact, not only with each other, but also with their customers, greeting each of them by name as they walk in, shows how nurturing a sense of family is important to them both.

“I’ve met the most amazing people who have become family to me in the bars,” Cook said. “You can’t put a price tag on that.”

Family is incredibly important to Steffen, too. When his wife was diagnosed with cancer and underwent treatment, the  customers of Traditions came through to support them by having a benefit night and a car parade.

However, the tradition of family won’t depart with Steffen. One of Cook’s favorite aspects of Traditions is its Monday night family style meals. Everyone brings a dish to pass.

The pub is at 501 Hwy. H. Cook will assume ownership in August. In the meantime, she and Steffen are working together for a smooth transition.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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