Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Big SteerAn unusual Big Steer that wears a bib and a chef's hat.
Puddle Jumpers BBQ
- 4939 S. Howell Ave., Milwaukee, WI
- Puddle Jumpers BBQ. On the west side of S. Howell Ave./Hwy 38, north of the Airport Spur and south of W. Layton Ave. Across from the airport.
Visitor Tips and News About Big Steer
It looks as though the Big Steer, formerly of DiMicelli's Rafters, is now located at Puddle Jumpers restaurant on South Howell Avenue across from Mitchell Field (airport) in Milwaukee.[S.F., 09/23/2012]
The Rafters, which served as the home of the big steer, is closed. I have no idea as to the fate of this fabled attraction.[Mrs. Martinoff, 11/13/2011]
The "Big Steer" is located behind The Rafters Steakhouse on S. 27th St. in Oak Creek (Milwaukee), WI. From the road the fiberglass statue, built by Sculptured Advertising of Sparta, WI (serial no. 341), hard to believe is not visible; I just happened to drive around the back and there it was in all of its glory.
The story begins with the Dimiceli family who opened their first family restaurant in the 1930s. In the early 1960s, Joseph Dimiceli purchased a motel -- "The Chez Paris" (known to rent by the hour vs. the day) -- looking to remodel the facility into a restaurant and banquet hall. After various additions over the years, during a remodeling in late 1985 a major fire burned down all of the previous additions (timber framing and lack of water to extinguish it) but only gutted the motel portion (cinder block construction). The decision was made to rebuild, and rather than lose his current employees, he purchased with a partner the recently closed Black Steer Restaurant on Hwy 100 and Greenfield Ave.
At the time, the Black Steer Restaurant chain was known for having a big fiberglass steer as a type of trademark in front of each of their restaurants. Unfortunately they took it with them when they closed. As a way to draw traffic to his new restaurant, "Rafters West," until the original was rebuilt, Joseph decided to replace the old "Big Steer" with similar one of his own.
In 1986-7 when the original Rafters remodeling was complete, he split from this partner and took the "Big Steer" with him. In general the colors of the structure have remained the same, except for the bib. It has been many colors, including the Green Bay Packers green and gold over the years. After 9/11 they painted the bib as an American Flag, and it has stayed that way since.[Mark Bertieri, 04/11/2008]