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Caledonia residents looking for frozen custard, cheese curds and ButterBurgers won’t have to drive 20 minutes to a Culver’s restaurant to get them.

A newly built Culver’s at 4542 Douglas Avenue will open its doors to the public on Dec. 6. Jake Haman, Jake’s father, Tom Haman, and Jake’s sister, Alisa Hogard, own and operate the restaurant. About 80 employees will serve up menu favorites, including pot roast dinner, chopped steak and frozen custard.

Jake, Tom, and Alisa also own the Culver’s on Highway 20 and Interstate 94. Other members of the Haman family own the Culver’s on 21st Street. When the family opened the Culver’s on Highway 20, it was store number 56. When this new restaurant opens, it will be store number 838. 

“We want to bring some life and a culture of customer service to this area, really have it be a place of gathering for families and events,” Jake said.

Why Douglas Avenue?

The Haman family knew their customers traveled from Caledonia to their other location. So it made sense to them to have a Culver’s on the northside. But Douglas Avenue had another draw for them. 

The Haman family had ties to Douglas Avenue when they owned Haman Brother’s Produce on Douglas Avenue in Racine.

“So my dad and his two brothers used to own that. We were little kids running around the potato room,” Jake said. “Now the kids are running around the same Douglas Avenue as my dad was when he was putting up the produce. So it’s nostalgic and a very cool thing to have the kids back on Douglas Avenue.”

The family also has a robust entrepreneurial spirit. With the opening of Starbucks, O&H Bakery, Wing Stop, and several other northside businesses, they saw the potential to be part of that growth. Taking over the site of an abandoned gas station also helped improve the community’s curb appeal on Douglas Avenue. 

“So we kind of fell into this spot – the abandoned gas station – and we thought, why not?” he said.

What to expect from Culver’s

The store will feature a double drive-thru, a sundae bar, and an outdoor pergola. The restaurant will also have televisions and USB ports on the wall. Culver’s focuses on hospitality, providing quality food, speed, and a family-friendly atmosphere from a customer service perspective.

Unlike other businesses, Culver’s did not have any issues with hiring staff.

“The staff here so far has been amazing. I mean, that was a concern of ours. But we got applications just rolling through the door and people were excited to work here. The management team is also looking great,” he said.

But when they open their doors, they do anticipate being busy.

“Opening is crazy no matter what,” Jake said. “But our challenge here is to be able to move people through the drive-thru lines and, you know, get the food out fast.”

Jake also anticipates starting tablet ordering – when staff takes orders on handheld tablets in the drive-thru – over the next few months. 

The family is also known for giving back to the community.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to give back,” he said. 

On Dec. 16, the restaurant plans to have a night where children can meet Santa and get their photos taken. They also work with Faith, Hope and Love, a local nonprofit that helps foster children by collecting donations.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.