Featured bartender: Kristi Chase at Fuzzy's
Fuzzy's Sports Pub and Grill in Waukesha is one of those bars I drove by hundreds of times, and always wondered about, but never stopped to find out more. So when an OnMilwaukee.com reader recommended Fuzzy's bartender Kristi Chase for the Featured Bartender series, I decided it was finally time to step inside.
And I'm glad I did. The place has a large, round bar, a good vibe, an extensive menu and a really friendly, family-oriented staff. Chase and her sister both work at Fuzzy's.
We ordered late breakfasts, all of which were good, from the enchilada omelet to the massive pancake (larger than the plate). And Chase was easy and fun to chat with about all sorts of topics, from gambling to family to spraying Cubs fans with water.
OnMilwaukee.com: So how long Have you worked here?
Kristi Chase: Seven and a half years. I am also going to school at WCTC in Pewaukee for medical assisting.
OMC: What do you like about it here?
KC: It's very laid back and friendly. Family-oriented. We work hard, but it's not super strict or formal.
OMC: How do the day crowds and night crowds differ?
KC: During the day, we see a lot more people on business lunches. People are more in and out; they have things to do. At night, it's more relaxed, people spend more time in the bar. We have better food specials at night as well. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have 25-cent wings and on Mondays we have 50-cent tacos and they are not mini-sized. They are full sized, really good tacos.
OMC: What's your favorite menu item?
KC: I have eaten here every day that I have worked for 7 1/2 years, so I've tried everything, I think, and it's all very good. The cheeseburger is really delicious.
OMC: So where does the name "Fuzzy's" come from?
KC: It's the owner's (Phil Santiago) nickname.
OMC: Is he fuzzy?
KC: Not really.
OMC: Do you have a lot of regulars here or do you see a lot of new faces or both?
KC: We have a lot of regulars. It's the same base group of people. But this is the kind of place people bring other people from out of town. It's unique. It's very Waukesha. It's not a McDonald's or a Burger King. It has personality.
OMC: So you and your sister both work here?
KC: Yes. She's worked here for over a year. Oh, and that's my dad over there (points to man at the bar). The owner's brother was the best man at my parents' wedding. Everyone's family knows each other's family. The owners, their nephew and sister all work here, too. There are only three or four people who work here who are not related, but they are very good friends.
OMC: Does it ever get rowdy in here?
KC: Occasionally. It's a sports bar, so sometimes, during games. And I'll spray the Cubs' fans with water if they get out of line.
OMC: Do you get hit on a lot when you're working?
KC: Oh yeah.
OMC: Does it ever work?
KC: Oh yeah.
OMC: Wow, you are the first bartender I've interviewed who said that.
KC: Well, I met my boyfriend here 2 1/2 years ago. I was just getting rid of my last boyfriend and I was complaining how I always had to pay for everything with him, and then my current boyfriend asked me out to dinner. I said no, but he kept trying for two months and I finally said yes.
And a lot of people here know I have a boyfriend so they don't hit on me. And when people do, they always have backed off when I told them.
OMC: Have you lived in Waukesha your whole life?
KC: Yes, grew up here. I went to Waukesha South. I like it here. It's big enough that there are things to do and small enough that you know everyone or at least know of their family.
OMC: You like that?
KC: I do. A lot of people know my dad and my grandpa, because they own the Chase Oil Company. I like how many people know me and my family because of that.
OMC: How have you seen Waukesha change over the years?
KC: It's gotten a lot bigger. So many more cars driving on the roads. This (pointing out the window) was all wide open. Now, it's all houses.
OMC: What do you like to do when you're not working?
KC: I like to gamble, play blackjack.
OMC: What's the most you have won?
KC: I won $1,200 in the $1 slot machines at Potawatomi. I also really like to read and listen to music.
OMC: Do you make it to Milwaukee very often?
KC: No, but when I do, I like to eat at Water Buffalo. And the Ale House. A couple of my friends play there: Ryan McIntyre and Keith Pulvermacher from The Love Monkeys.
OMC: What are your thoughts on tipping?
KC: I think at least 15 percent. Ten percent was 10 years ago (Laughing). It's based on time, too. If you've been hanging out for hours, I think $6-$7 is fair. But, when you're in the industry, you tend to overtip.
OMC: What's your favorite drink to make?
KC: A martini or an Old Fashioned. I get a lot of requests for Old Fashioneds, believe it or not considering this is a sports bar. I make them the real way, without a mix. I don't drink them though because I don't drink brandy or whiskey. I love beer – Fat Tire, Riverwest Stein, Rolling Rock.
OMC: Where's one place you would like to travel someday?
KC: I would like to get back to New York City. I went to the last Yankees game at Yankee Stadium.
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