Janesville46.5°

Sad to see Ground Round close

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Greg Peck
May 14, 2013

Many people in Janesville considered the Ground Round a decent family restaurant. I hadn’t eaten there in years, however. It’s not that I had anything against it; it just wasn’t at the top of my list for my limited dining-out dollars. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t sad to read today’s Gazette story stating that the restaurant closed Tuesday. The closing means 38 workers have lost their jobs.

It struck me in part because, just last weekend, I ate two meals in the new Ground Round that’s part of the new Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center in downtown Oshkosh. I was there while attending the Lakefly Literary Conference.

The hotel has been open only about two weeks. Everything was so new that I suspected I was the first occupant of Room 814.

The hotel, as I understand it, was actually a complete $16 million refurbishment of the previous hotel on the river in Oshkosh. An enclosed second-floor walkway lets guests walk above the traffic to the convention center across Main Street.

During the convention, I ate lunch and supper at the Ground Round, which was an upscale version of Janesville’s restaurant. The place seemed fairly busy, the food was good, and prices were reasonable.

I spent four years earning a journalism degree in the 1970s at UW-Oshkosh, but other than going to and from the Northwestern newspaper building, where I held a part-time sportswriting job my senior year, I had little need to spend much time downtown. So I took a stroll early Saturday morning and marveled at the big office buildings and the few vacancies. Granted, Oshkosh has a four-year university helping funnel money into the local economy, but I can only wish that Janesville’s downtown will one day be as vibrant as Oshkosh’s is today.

And though it’s not in downtown Janesville and the growth of commerce out there has been detrimental to downtown, I hope, too, that someone can reopen the Ground Round or some other restaurant on that prime piece of real estate on Janesville’s busy Milton Avenue.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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