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RACINE — After 39 years of serving the Racine community, Chuck and Connie Brandt are selling Buckets Pub, 2031 Lathrop Ave., to two successful local business owner husband-wife teams: Joey and Anna Legath, and Marci Bruley and Jason Winkler.

Buckets Pub 2nd Round
The original logo for Buckets Pub, which has been owned and operated by Chuck and Connie Brandt for 39 years.

The establishment’s last day of ownership under the Brandts will be on April 29. The new owners are aiming to reopen as Buckets Pub 2nd Round on May 13.

All gift cards and drink chips, distributed under the ownership of the Brandt family, must be used by April 25 at Buckets Pub.

Buckets Pub 2nd Round
Buckets Pub 2nd Round, under the Legath and Bruley-Winkler families, aims to open on May 12.

Standing strong for almost 40 years

On Feb. 20, 1984, Buckets Pub opened its doors. The Brandts have been married for 50 years and successfully ran their business together for 39 of those years.

Buckets Pub 2nd Round
The Buckets Pub sign along Lathrop Ave. is a point of reference for many. – Credit: Emma Widmar

Before opening Buckets Pub, they opened and operated the Riverside Pub, in the late 70s and early 80s.

From there, they embarked on a new journey, never imagining that Buckets Pub would turn into what it is today.

What started as an empty building was transformed into a well-loved place that, for many local residents, has become a regular staple for them to watch a sports game, enjoy some wings, as well as celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, and more.

The people made it worth it

For nearly 40 years, Chuck and Connie agree that the best part of running their local business was the customers they interacted with.

“One of the best memories is watching our younger customers grow up, get married and have kids. Now their kids are having kids, and watching that whole evolution,” said Chuck.

It wasn’t an easy job, by any means, but the people made the 24/7 nature of running a bar and restaurant worth every minute.

Buckets Pub 2nd Round
The establishment served as a place for family’s to gather for 39 years. The new owners strive to continue the legacy created by the Brandt family. – Credit: Emma Widmar

“We’re gonna miss all of our friends,” expressed Connie. “We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into that place; we raised our kids while we were working there. We decided that it was something we wanted to do, and we worked hard to make it effective and to make it successful.”

Needless to say, the Brandt family is leaving a legacy behind that the Legaths and Bruley-Winkler families want to honor.

“We are taking over such a monumental business in Racine,” said Marci Bruley. “It is scary and exciting.”

The Legath family couldn’t agree more.

“We feel very honored that we can take over something that has been such a great business in Racine for almost 40 years. We get to be the ones that continue that legacy,” said Anna.

The new owners are going into this new opportunity will the utmost support from the Brandts.

“They will grow their business. They’re just that much younger than us. It comes to a time in your life when you slow down, you get a little older. It’s time to slow down for us, but it’s time for them to come in full-fledged,” said Connie.

The handoff

According to Chuck, he and Joey Legath have been friends for almost 40 years. Buckets Pub is the place where the two formed a bond.

“When I first got into the bar business, I would go into Buckets. Chuck and Connie were always super nice and we became friends. They taught me a lot about the bar and restaurant business over the years,” said Joey.

According to Chuck, conversations about Legath taking over the business have occurred over the years, but it wasn’t until recently that it’s become a reality.

Buckets Pub 2nd Round
Napkin holders urge customers at Buckets Pub to use their gift cards and drink chips by April 25. – Credit: Emma Widmar

About a week after the Legaths spent an afternoon at Buckets Pub, Joey and Anna decided that this well-loved establishment would be their next endeavor. At that time, they also turned to the Bruley-Winklers to join in on the fun.

The Legaths thought they were content with the recent takeover of what is now known as Joey’s Yardarm, but turns out, more fuel was available in the tank for this power couple.

When Joey was inquiring about the business, Chuck didn’t give it a second thought.

“Joey, it’s sold. If it’s going to you I feel good,” said Chuck, addressing Joey.

Legath credits his father, as well as the late Chuck Beth (a business owner and operator in Racine), and finally, the Brandt family, for helping him get his footing in the industry along with being a continued resource throughout the years.

“Those three (people/families) are the ones that are important in my life, that probably changed my life,” explained Joey.

And it’s all coming full circle for this businessman.

Dual ownership

The Legath family owns and operates numerous establishments including Joey’s West, and Joey’s Yardarm, They’ve actually run multiple taverns in the Racine area. Since 1966, prior to Joey’s start as an owner, his father had been in the restaurant business in Racine.

“Whether it’s a restaurant or a tavern and are now both, we’ve been around for quite a long time in the city of Racine,” said Legath.

This newest endeavor in their business world involves a longtime friend and former employee, Marci Bruley.

The Bruley-Winkler family runs Marci’s on Main, 236 Main St., in Downtown Racine.

Buckets Pub 2nd Round
After the announcement of the change in ownership, Buckets Pub saw a full house of customers visiting the establishment on March 29. – Credit: Emma Widmar

“Jason and I are so honored to be going into business with Joey and Anna,” said Bruley. “I worked for Joey and Anna for 10 years, and then when Marci’s opened, they were huge mentors for me. So to go into business with my mentors and such good friends…I’m so excited about it.”

What to expect

Buckets Pub will transform into Buckets Pub 2nd Round once the Legath and the Bruley-Winkler families take over. It will continue to be a sports bar.

Buckets Pub 2nd Round
A burger and fries from Buckets Pub hits the spot. – Credit: Emma Widmar

“We think it’s so fitting because we want to keep some of Buckets Pub, but this, of course, is the second time around now, so we want to bring in some of our thoughts and personalities,” Bruley said.

The couples look forward to continuing the tradition of being one of Racine’s food destinations.

With a change in leadership will come some exciting fresh endeavors. Meanwhile, the new owners will be keeping certain aspects of the current establishment the same.

They will have classic sports bar food like hot dogs, brats and hamburgers.

The chicken wings that were developed under the Brandt family’s ownership are there to stay. They have become a staple at Bucket’s as many locals have come to know and love them. According to Anna, they will source the product from the same place and use the same spices.

They’ve been voted number one in Racine for a reason. We love them. You will see some changes to the menu, but there will still be some of the favorites on the menu also.

Marci Bruley, on Buckets Pub’s infamous chicken wings
Buckets Pub 2nd Round
The Bucket’s Pub wings that were founded under Chuck and Connie will continue to be served at Buckets Pub 2nd Round. – Credit: Emma Widmar

Incorporated into the menu will be their own twists on things. Anna said that they will incorporate their hand-breaded foods, and have lots of finger foods and appetizers to hit the menu when they take over. The Legaths will bring over their fish fry recipe, cheese curds and more.

There will also be items on the menu that are specific just to Buckets Pub 2nd Round to come.

In addition to the food, they plan to continue to market the space they have available for parties and gatherings. The plan is for Marci’s creativity to shine when it comes to the backroom.

A new Facebook page for Buckets Pub 2nd Round has been created. Follow along for more updates about the business.


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