First the pub, now the café

(First published in the March 1, 2018 issue of City Pages)

Tyler Vogt of Malarkey’s Pub and his sister Shannon Kozlowski take over the downtown coffeehouse Paisley Mug


Tyler Vogt, Shannon Kozlowski and Stina Vogt at Malarkey’s Pub, just a few doors down from The Paisley Mug café that Tyler and Shannon now will run after purchasing the business last week

It has been more than ten years since Tyler Vogt opened Malarkey’s Pub in downtown Wausau, which quickly became the go-to spot for live music and craft beers.

A few years later, in 2012, Vogt and his business partner Todd Link expanded by opening up Malarkey’s to the adjoining space to create Townies Grill restaurant.

In 2016, they opened Rib Mountain Taphouse bar and grill, with one the largest taps in the area and a neon-glowing bar.

With Vogt that entire time was his sister, Shannon Kozlowski, who worked at Malarkey’s since day one. Now she and Vogt will embark on a new venture together, with the purchase of the long-time downtown café Paisley Mug. “I wanted to open a coffee shop for the past four years,” Kozlowski says.

They finalized the deal on Feb. 28 as the new owners of The Paisley Mug, previously owned by Becky Hummer. A few months ago Hummer had started looking to sell the café so that she could devote more time to managing the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, which her husband David Hummer founded last year.

One little thing of note: While Kozlowski has been drinking coffee much of her life, Vogt only started drinking coffee since 2015, as part of a new year’s resolution. “I never had one in my life,” Vogt says. “I think it’s an affordable luxury that anyone can enjoy on a certain level, and I thought I should too.”

Though he might be a coffee newbie, Vogt does know the immediate market—the coffeehouse is only a few doors down from Malarkey’s Pub and Townies.

Hummer bought Allister Deacon’s in 2015, and changed the name to Paisley Mug last year, while maintaining most of the menu—including the breakfast, soups, lunch and salads—that had been in place for many years. David Hummer’s idea for the Museum of Contemporary Art began in the meantime, in late 2016. It quickly took shape and opened in fall 2017. Becky then was needed as administrator for WMOCA, and to help with David’s increasingly busy Bauhaus art studio (which relocated into the museum). Running the café at the same time was stretching her time. “The museum has been going very well,” Becky Hummer says. “It’s been very successful and [David] needs my help to help keep it that way.”

Paisley Mug’s Third Street storefront just outside the entrance of Wausau Center mall has a long history of being a coffee shop under various owners. Its first iteration in the 1990s was called Something’s Brewing, then Whey Cool Café, then Allister Deacon’s under Ken Lassa and Jim Wanta, who ran the business for roughly a decade before selling it to Becky Hummer in 2015.

Vogt says he won’t make many changes at first—Paisley Mug is a well-run business, he says, with a great staff. He does plan to add more bakery and grab-and-go items, while implementing other changes over time.