Featured bartender: O'Lydia's Rick Sackett
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Rick Sackett is the general manager of O'Lydia's Pub and Grill, 338 S. 1st St., an Irish-themed establishment that took over the Slim McGinn's space three years ago.
"We got here at the perfect time," says Sackett, whose mother, Linda Sackett, owns the bar.
Recently, we stopped in at O'Lydia's for a couple of Guinness and Sackett taught us how to play bar dice (hard to believe it took this long for us to learn) and talked about Milwaukee bars, dogs, hot wings and Harleys.
OnMilwaukee.com: Did you work in the service industry prior to O'Lydia's?
Rick Sackett: Linda worked as the manager of the Brown Bottle Pub from 1992 until it closed in 2004. I loved it as a kid – running around in the old brewery, helping wash dishes. Later, I worked on Water Street for a while before we opened here.
OMC: Do you call your mom by her first name?
RS: Yeah, since we started working together.
OMC: Where were you born and raised?
RS: Near Greenfield. I went to French Immersion School, Milwaukee School of Languages and West Allis Central.
OMC: Do you remember any French?
RS: Actually, I'm fluent in French.
OMC: Have you been to France?
RS: Not yet, but I'd like to go.
OMC: What do you do when you're not working?
RS: I've been working a lot the past three years – 65 hours a week, sometimes more. Putting a lot of sweat equity into this place. And I have a dog, Elwood. He's a 100-pound mastiff. A big goofball. I've always had a dog since I was little.
OMC: How do you feel about Chihuahuas?
RS: The little dogs are Elwood food to me.
OMC: What's your favorite drink to make for customers?
RS: This place is a shot-and-a-beer type bar. I enjoy making bloodies, cosmos or any other "fancy" drinks if needed, but my favorite is just opening a PBR and pouring a shot. It's about as simple as it gets and it gives me a lot more time to hang out and shoot the sh-t with all my regulars.
OMC: So even though this is an Irish-themed bar and grill, do you sell more PBR than Guinness here?
RS: Yes. We order 28-30 packs a week.
OMC: Why is that?
RS: Twelve-ounce cans of PBR are $1 here more than they're not.
OMC: What's your favorite drink to consume?
RS: Jeremiah Weed and water. I overdosed on Irish whiskeys and now they're hard for me to stomach.
OMC: How's the food side of the business?
RS: It's going even better than we expected. I think we do food really well here and it brings people back. We also have 50-cent wings on Wednesday – which is also trivia night. Last Wednesday we sold over 1,500 wings.
OMC: What makes your wings so popular?
RS: We make all of the sauces in-house and it's hard to find 50-cent wings anymore.
OMC: What are your plans for the summer?
RS: I have a lot of weddings. My brother and my cousin are getting married and I'm standing up in my best friend's wedding in June.
Our shuttle will be going to and from all of the Brewer games this summer. It already goes to and from the men's basketball games at UWM and Marquette and all of the Brew City Bruisers' bouts.
And I'll ride my Harley.
OMC: What kind of Harley do you have?
RS: I have a Harley Softail. I bought it just after the anniversary in August.
OMC: Do you feel a sense of pride, as a Milwaukeean, owning a Harley?
RS: Yeah, I do. It's local business. It all goes together – their business, our business. It's pretty rare you won't catch me wearing an O'Lydia's shirt on it.
OMC: You live and own a business in Walker's Point. Obviously you like the neighborhood, but what does it still need in your opinion?
RS: A grocery store. I heard a Cermak is coming, and I hope it does. Also a diner – somewhere you can eat 24 hours a day. Also, a pharmacy.
OMC: What have you learned in the past three years of working at O'Lydia's?
RS: Wow, I learn something new everyday. When I got here, I had a considerable amount of managerial experience, but when it comes to food and bev – I've learned a ton on the job. And from Linda.
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