The legend is that the first beers were served in the Plaza during Prohibition. At the tap was “Moon” Molinaro, a UW football player who operated a little speakeasy next to the pool hall that took up most of the building’s space.
A man named Al Grebe bought it and added bowling lanes. On Feb. 12, 1930, the bar made bowling history when Madison’s Jennie Hoverson Kelleher bowled the first 300 game for a woman in sanctioned competition.
Harold Huss came on board in 1945. The Huss Family purchased The Plaza in 1963. Mary invented the “Plaza Sauce” at the time, and since then The Plaza has sold over 2 million of its famous burgers. With the passing of Mary & Harold, ownership was passed to their children, Jim, Tom, Peg, and Kathy. In 2003 Dean Hetue, the manager for over 18 years, took over ownership from the Huss Family.
Some famous Plaza patrons include Bill Murray, Johnny Cash, Tom Wopat, Brett Favre, Neil Young, Greta Van Susteren, Joan and John Cusack, and former Wisconsin Govs. Patrick Lucey, Lee Sherman Dreyfus, Tony Earl and Tommy Thompson.