Dewey’s Restaurant & Sports Bar in Racine is closing Dec. 31

RACINE—After more than 11 years in business, Dewey’s Restaurant & Sports Bar is closing its doors Sunday, Dec. 31.

Husband and wife Dan and Gerry Dumont opened the bar on November 10, 2012.

In honor of his father, Dan Dumont has a photo of his father, “The Original Dewey,” above the bar door cash register. He passed before Dumont opened Dewey’s store. “I think he would like that,” Gerry Dumont said.

Clarissa Garza

Both raised in Racine, Dumont has a lot of love for the community.

“We had a lot of support in the community from activities that our kids were involved in, and because we’ve both been here our whole lives, we had a base of friends that supported us early on,” Gerry Dumont said.

Dewey’s Restaurant & Sports Bar is the DuMonts’ first foray into the restaurant industry. Previously, Dan DuMont was a manager at InSinkErator and Geri DuMont worked and continues to work as an accountant.

“It was always on Dan’s bucket list. So when he wanted to do it, I told him it had to be in the center and that we wouldn’t have partners — those were my only rules,” Gerry Dumont said. “We both feel the center has so much potential. People always rave about how beautiful it is here.”

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The Dumonts have been flirting with the idea of ​​selling the building and closing the bar for quite some time.

“When people are here, they want to see Dan – that’s just the way it is in the little local bars and restaurants. He is the face. And after a while, he just didn’t want to always be that face,” Gerry Dumont said. “Even when things were booming and super successful, Dan was like, ‘I don’t want to be tied to this all the time.’

During a Nov. 7 Common Council meeting, Dan DuMont outlined safety concerns in the business district due to the hotel center at 614 Main St. He continued during a Nov. 21 Common Council meeting, saying the problems encouraged him to close Dewey’s.

“I seriously expect to close my doors for good at the end of December, and that’s almost going to happen,” Dan DuMont said. “I cannot and will not continue to put money into my business to stay open.”

Dewey's Restaurant and Sports Bar

People are coming to their senses Dewey’s Restaurant & Sports Bar to catch up with old friends, watch a sports game or just enjoy food and drinks.

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On November 28, a staff member posted on Facebook that the bar “has no plans to close at this time.”

However, after a discussion between Dan DuMont and his staff, the DuMonts announced the bar’s closure in a Facebook post on Dec. 7, explaining that many factors went into the decision, but it boils down to Dan DuMont wanting to retire.

“We have six children and 10 grandchildren,” he said. “I want to start being able to do things like go on vacation, just be able to get out and go.”

“It was the best business”

While the pandemic has slowed things down a bit, the sports bar has welcomed many people through its doors.

With nearly 100 employees over the years, some Dewey employees even started their love stories at the bar, including three of the bartenders.

“Two of them are married and one is engaged,” Gerry Dumont said. “We went to one of the weddings in Savannah, Georgia, and part of their church speech was about how they met at Dewey, so it’s just fun to find out how Dewey played a part in that.”

One employee has been at Dewey’s Restaurant & Sports Bar since opening day.

Mike Cibrario, the executive chef, has full control over the menu and the kitchen.

“It was pretty much his kitchen for 11 years,” Gerry Dumont said.

“Before we opened, Mike, Dan and I were sitting in lawn chairs in the backyard and just brainstorming things on the menu,” she said. “And I’m a vegetarian, so that always kind of gave us a different vibe here. Back then, in Racine, I don’t know if there were that many places that were mainstream sports bars that would actually have something for everybody.”

Since this was the DuMonts’ first experience in the restaurant industry, Cibrario’s experience proved invaluable.

But he wasn’t surprised to learn of the closure.

“We used to have some weeks where we were very busy, whereas now we’re lucky enough to have a few days a week that are busy,” he said.

“For eight years it was the best business – we were full all the time. I think we had over 90 employees in 11 years,” Dan DuMont said. “That place was always busy. And then COVID hit. And it never really comes back. I mean, I see signs that it’s coming back.”

Dan DuMont sees a lot of untapped potential in downtown Racine.

“People from all over the world come here to eat, and they talk about what a beautiful lake and beaches we have,” he said. “So the potential is there for this city – we just need to get the right people in place to make it happen.”

Dewey’s was also known for its festivities, including “snow golf” in February and March Madness viewing.

A day of snow golf included breakfast at the bar, heading to the beach for a round with a golf club and tennis ball, and food and drinks to finish off the day.

During March Madness, “hundreds of guys” gathered at the sports bar.

“People would sneak in during their lunch hours during March Madness and it would be fun to watch because everyone would be cheering or screaming,” Gerry Dumont said.

The DuMonts have also hosted a toy drive at Dewey’s for the past four years in partnership with the Salvation Army of Racine County.

With a history of community impact and a prime location on the corner of Main and Sixth streets, the closing of Dewey’s will be felt throughout Racine.

“As we say goodbye to Dewey’s, we honor the legacy of Dan Dumont, a true champion for Downtown Racine, whose commitment went beyond running a sports bar to a cornerstone of community engagement and philanthropy,” said Kelly Crews, Downtown Racine Corporation Executive Director. “While Dewey’s closing reflects the complexities of urban change, including safety concerns and economic changes, it also reminds us of the impact one dedicated person can have on the fabric of our community.”

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