ROCKFORD (WREX) — Oscar's Pub and Grill is a Stateline staple that has stood the test for time for two decades. When Kelly Bloomquist decided to open up the spot in 2001 with his business partner, many would've thought it might not last.
"We're coming up on the 20 year anniversary of 9/11 and that happened in our first year open within six months and that changed a lot of business at that time," says Bloomquist.
But despite the challenges, recessions and now a pandemic, the restaurant is standing tall.
"We've gone through a lot of different things," says Bloomquist, "recessions, housing slumps, stock market crashes but we're here, still doing our thing and loving it."
The long-time mainstay credits its success to loyal customers, quick service and a menu that you don't see at every bar in town. Featuring a variety of fish and seafood options, as well as buffalo chicken nachos served in a tortilla bowl.
"It's our walleye, it's our fish, it's our seafood, we are very well known for it," says Bloomquist. "We actually have our walleye everyday of the week where most places only have it on Friday."
Bloomquist says it's those little differences that make Oscar's a place that hundreds call their home away from home.
"My wife and I have talked about it before, how many people have met here, had relationships, got married. I couldn't tell you how many weddings I've been to from people that have worked here or people that were really good customers and met."
People is why Bloomquist has been in the restaurant industry for decades and will continue to be as long as Oscar's is around.
"You have your hard times, your best times, your good times," says Bloomquist, "you just keep a positive attitude and go with it."
Oscar's Pub and Grill is located at 5980 East State Street and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.