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Irish pub reopens in Waupaca

At the entrance near Riverview Park, a new metal sign for Doc Kelly’s Public House hangs near a patio illuminated with string lighting. The Irish pub has been reopened and brought back to life by Kelly and Gina Koch. James Card Photo

T-Dubs becomes Doc Kelly’s

By James Card

The Irish pub formerly known as T-Dubs is now back open under new ownership as Doc Kelly’s Public House.

The new name is an amalgam of the names of the two new owners, Kelly and Gina Koch. Gina is a chiropractic doctor, so they joined them together as Doc Kelly.

They purchased the Jens Hansen building in January 2024. The business was vacant for four years. The previous owners, Denny Wahnke and Paul Mayou, shut the place down during the Covid pandemic. After the virus cleared, they tried reopening again but the former staff was long gone and the business was shuttered again. Mayou is part of the staff doing the payroll and accounting.

“Denny and Paul were very supportive. Open it up; we have all the recipes for you. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. With me being Irish and I love the Irish fare and cuisine, I decided we could pull it all together,” said Kelly Koch.

The kitchen equipment groaned back to life. There were numerous repairs after the sitting idle and unplugged for so long. They did extensive cleaning and replaced many light fixtures.

The mysterious and beckoning stairway on East Fulton Street, right across from the library is boarded up. It leads down to the Riverview Park area and the main entrance for Doc Kelly’s.

There is an easement and insurance issue with a neighbor and Koch would like to see it fixed up and reopened again.

“We hear from customers over and over again that we love parking on top and walking down, especially when we can bring friends or guests that have never been here. You walk down and suddenly there is a beautiful entrance,” said Koch.

Upon entering, there are two levels, the Pub and the Snug. The Pub is the main place to dine and hangout. The Snug is for overflow dining and special parties.

The menu is very similar to T-Dubs. Their chef is Kelly Killeen who has visited Ireland. All of their beef is locally sourced from Whitetail Valley. This beef forms the Irishman, a burger loaded with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. The shepherd’s pie and Irish curry are also popular.

They have Irish imported beers, along with Central Waters beer from Amherst and McFleshman’s beer from Appleton.

Doc Kelly’s Public House is open from 4-9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They are open from 4-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday They are closed Mondays and Sundays. The patio is now open for dining.

Little known fact: the Jens Hansen building was constructed in 1868. It was originally a livery. Carriages rolled in on the lower level and were hoisted up to the top floor to be worked on. The “Live and Let Live” sign is original to the building.

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