Kin and Kind
Rachel Radtke, owner of Kin and Kind
In the age of social distancing and Coronavirus shut down, it might not seem like the most ideal time to open a business. But one local business did just that.
Kin and Kind opened June 17 in the strip mall just north of Kent Street on Grand Avenue in Wausau. The business, serving exclusively beer since that’s what her license allows, has been quietly attracting business since then.
Owner Rachel Radtke had worked for years in the hospitality business and until about seven years ago the D.C. Everest graduate lived in Austin, Texas. But she’d long wanted to open a business of her own and moved back to the Wausau area originally because she had thought about buying Tilly’s in Rothschild. But she ultimately changed her mind, and worked jobs such as Red Eye Brewing Co. in Wausau instead.
But she’d always wanted to run her own place, especially a place that she could largely run by herself. Thus, Kin and Kind was born.
The small business, located at 2108 Grand Avenue, is a long narrow bar with a kinfolk style decor that might appear to be more of a coffee shop than a bar per se, with more plantlife than most would associate with a bar. A vintage and stylish refrigerator that belonged to her grandfather sits behind the bar, along with other pieces of charm. But that’s exactly the kind of business Radtke wanted to start — something intimate and cozy and chill for folks to relax in. “That’s the inspiration behind the name — it’s a different kind of family,” Radtke says.
But don’t let the size of the business fool you — Kin and Kind serves 40 different cans of craft beer, with a menu that will hit all the categories a beer lover will appreciate. Everything from sours to pale ales to malty and dark beers are available by can. Radtke herself says she has developed a strong taste for sour beers since opening the shop.
There’s also a food truck in the works, Radtke says. Her boyfriend’s family owns Ninepatch, and the group plans to keep a food truck in the patio area behind the business to serve food like Sunday brunch or fish fries. The food will be upscale comfort food featuring a lot of locally sourced ingredients, farm to fork style, Radtke says. She hopes to have food from local farms such as Ninepatch, Stoney Acres, Cattail Organics and Whitefeather Organics, among others.
What about starting a business in a pandemic? Radtke definitely had her concerns. She started working on the business in that space in November, and obtained her liquor license in February (check!) before the Coronavirus pandemic really hit the area.
Radtke definitely had her reservations. “I think I was worried about people being upset, not wanting to come in,” Radtke says. “But when they’re ready, they will come.”
So far business has slowly but surely been picking up. Kin and Kind is open in the afternoons and early evenings.
Kin and Kind is the only bar in the Southeast Side Neighborhood and the neighbors have really been taking to the business, Radtke says. But her audience has been a mix of both neighbors and people from throughout the Wausau area checking out Wausau’s latest craft brew dispensary.
Some day, in an era when COVID-19 is no longer a concern, she hopes to hold group events such as trivia or game nights, but that involves touching common objects — so during coronavirus times that is out for now.
But for the time being people like the light crowds and quiet space that Kin and Kind provides. “People are giving it a chance,” Radtke says. “People are realizing it’s not populated in here so they feel comfortable.” The nice cozy space and good beer doesn’t hurt either.