Wega Drive-In to reopen as Susie Q’s
New owner inspired by mother
By James Card
The Wega Drive-In is under new ownership with the goal to be open by April 10.
The business was purchased by Kevin and Tamatha Verch in early March.
Currently they are updating the kitchen, adding a gas line and fixing some plumbing problems.
The purchase of this business was in the making for many years but Tamatha Verch did not see it coming. For a long time, she and her mother dreamed about opening a coffee shop together. They had their eyes on one in Wautoma but never got around to buying it.
Her mother and her father became snowbirds and wintered in Yuma, Arizona. In 2012, her mother was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. She stayed in Arizona and received treatment.
In 2018 her mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She had a couple surgeries; she fought it off as best she could.
In 2021, she moved back to Wisconsin and lung cancer was discovered. Stage four. The pancreatic cancer manifested in her lungs. There wasn’t much anyone could do. Chemotherapy would buy her time.
Towards the end, Verch’s mother would lie in her bed and watch Guy Fieri’s program, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
“It was nonstop. It drove my husband and my dad nuts,” said Verch, who is a former nurse and emergency medical technician.
Her mother said to her: “You know, we never made our dream come true, we never opened a little establishment together.”
Verch said it could still happen. Her mother disagreed and said she was dying.
She stayed at her mother’s side until she passed away on Feb. 24, 2021.
This January, her husband who works as a home inspector, noticed the Wega Drive-In for sale.
“We should buy this. You can finally have your little place. Like the one you and mom talked about,” he said. Her father also agreed.
“Before my mom died I promised her I would go through the genetic testing to make sure I didn’t have her cancer gene,” said Verch.
Her brother didn’t have it. Her daughter didn’t have it.
“So I got the short end of the stick but it doesn’t slow me down,” said Verch.
She had a tumor removed this past December. She had an abnormal mammogram and recently had a biopsy on her right breast. She is scheduled for a double mastectomy after her daughter’s wedding in October that will be composed of two different surgeries.
After the offer of the drive-in was accepted, she was sitting at home when inspiration struck. She shouted out in a way that made her husband and father think she was hurt. They asked what was wrong.
“I know what I’m naming the drive-in. Susie Q’s,” said Verch.
Her father, Len Mueller, broke into tears. “That’s what you want to name it?” he asked.
“Yeah, because if I cannot run it with my mom who is not physically here, she’s going to be here in spirit, in heart and soul,” said Verch.
Her mother’s name was Susan Lee Mueller. Her father called her mother Susie. Other people called her Susie.
Verch intends to give the drive-in a 1950s and ‘60s theme that would date back to the time when her parents were young and her father played in a band.
“That was my mom and dad’s era. I want to live my mom’s dream,” she said.