Big Boy statues featuring The Fonz, Charles Woodson, Prince and more will be inside when the restaurant opens this month in Germantown

Cathy Kozlowicz
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

People have waited 26 years for a Big Boy restaurant to return to Wisconsin. Now they'll have to wait an extra week, said Chaz Hastings, who recently signed a franchise deal with his business partner, Scott Carleton, to open Big Boy restaurants in the state.

Wisconsin Big Boy was slated to open July 14 at N116 W15841 Main St., Germantown. That's been pushed back a week. Now, the plan is to open Wisconsin Big Boy on July 21, Hastings said. 

Wisconsin Big Boy will be at the site of the former Jerry's Old Town Inn, which closed in May.

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Hastings said the late arrival of furniture is responsible for the delay. There will be "plush" bar stools and booth seats, all in the bright red color for Big Boy restaurants.

"When we open, we want it done right," he said.

Two artists Juergen Foerster and Ron Dunn are painting Big Boy statues to represent pop culture icons and celebrities.  The statue pictured is Charles Woodson, who played on the Packers from 2006 to 2013 and won the Heisman Trophy when he played football at the University of Michigan.

In the meantime, Hastings said, two artists have been painting Big Boy statues to represent famous people and pop culture icons for the last six months.

So far, Juergen Foerster and Ron Dunn have completed about 20 custom statues, and Hastings is expecting that number to eventually grow to 100.

Most of the statues will go into the Germantown location, he said.

Nine-inch statues of pop culture icons

The fireplace mantel at Germantown's Wisconsin Big Boy will be lined with 9-inch customized statues, Hastings said. 

So far, the figures include James Bond, Gene Simmons from the band Kiss, Johnny Depp from "Pirates of the Caribbean," Baby Yoda and Chef Boyardee.

Two local artists Juergen Foerster and Ron Dunn are painting Big Boy statues to represent pop culture icons and celebrities.  These nine-inch statues will sit on the fireplace mantel at the Wisconsin Big Boy restaurant in Germantown.

He said the plan is to keep creating statues and to work with a local art school so those students can paint Big Boy statues too.   

At some point, he said he might consider selling the statues at the restaurant.

Other custom-made statues

When customers walk into Wisconsin Big Boy, they will be greeted by two custom-made statues: A 7-foot statue of Fonzie from "Happy Days" and one of former Green Bay Packer Charles Woodson. 

Hastings said he chose Woodson because both he and Carleton are from Michigan. Although Woodson played for the Packers from 2006-13, he won the Heisman Trophy in 1997 when he played for the University of Michigan. He retired from football in 2015.

Custom-made 41-inch statues include Evel Knievel, G.I. Joe, Prince, Superman, Captain America, a firefighter and a police man. 

Of course, there will also be traditional Big Boy statues inside and outside the restaurant, including a 3-foot and 5-foot neon statues.

"This (Wisconsin Big Boy) will be quite the place," Hastings said.

Future plans

Wisconsin Big Boy will serve milkshakes and the classic Big Boy burgers. Hastings said he will sell cheese curds, a Wisconsin food favorite, which other locations do not sell.

Under his franchise agreement, he can sell popular dishes from Jerry's Old Town Inn, including ribs, Hastings said. He also said the restaurant will have a liquor license. Its regular hours are planned for 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. 

Big Boy currently has 74 locations in the United States, according to Big Boy's website. The first one opened in 1936 in Glendale, California. Its corporate headquarters is in Detroit.

Marcus Corp. opened its first Marc's Big Boy on North 72nd Street and West Capitol Drive in Milwaukee in 1958, according to Journal Sentinel files, and later moved west to 79th and Capitol, eventually growing to more than 60 locations across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The last Wisconsin restaurant closed in the 1990s.

Hastings said the plan is for the Germantown location to be a flagship location with a Big Boy museum, nostalgic photos and Big Boy statues where people can take selfies.

Hastings said that within the next three years he plans to operate two Big Boy food trucks for festivals or private events, according to a news release. He also said he would like to open a location in Brookfield and have permanent stands at venues such as Lambeau Field, American Family Field and State Fair Park.

For more information and updates on Wisconsin Big Boy, find Wisconsin Big Boy on Facebook.

Cathy Kozlowicz can be reached at 262-361-9132 or Follow her on Twitter at @kozlowicz_cathy.