About us & Photo Gallery
Take a look at the place, the people and the food…
How it all came to be…
Under the Mayoral direction of three City of Jefferson Mayors, a master plan was developed under Mayor Colin Stevens by the architectural firm of Vanderwalle and Associates from Madison. With the flood of ‘08, the plan was brought forward under the direction of Mayor Gary Meyers. It was easiest to start on the West riverside because of the single ownerships of most of the river bank. Craig Ellsworth of The Architectural Firm updated the master plan in cooperation with Mr. Steve Lewis, Jefferson Area Business Center, and Mike and Ed Soleska, Riverfront Rentals, LLC. With the partnership of Mayor Dale Opperman and the City of Jefferson, Jefferson County Economic Development Consortium, Steve Lewis, and Mike and Ed Soleska, there was mitigation, building renovation, property swaps, and the razing of 5 buildings to what is now a focal point and destination.
These drawings are the final concept of the river walk by Boyd Coleman of Struc Rite Design that complements the initial efforts of all. In order to complete the river walk the City needs to make the final extension, through the easement, to the walk bridge and The Herons Landing Restaurant to install the docks. Also looking in the near future to completing the property on north side of the bridge by creating a park like setting overlooking the river with an added pavilion for all of the community to enjoy. The excitement continues.
The building was built in 1898 and had 13 ownerships before Mike (Chicken), Caroline, and Ed Soleska, purchased it in 1994. Chicken operated “Chicken’s Riverfront Pub and Grill” before leasing it to Vinnie Krause who operated it as “The Rock Bottom”..
The 500 year flood hit in 2008 and shut down the tavern along with several other riverfront buildings and businesses. The City’s master plan developed under Mayor Colin Stevens and implemented by Mayor Gary Meyers started the blight elimination resulting in five neighboring buildings being razed. Credit should be given to City Administrator, Timothy Freitag, City Engineer, Jill Weiss, City Attorney, Bennett Brantmeier, and current Mayor Dale Opperman. Dennis Heling, Executive Director, and Roxanne Witte, Administrative Assistant, of the Jefferson County Economic Development Consortium oversaw Federal grant mitigation money to raise the building out of the flood plain. The largest funding was through personal finances and a SBA loan. Temporary local financing was led by Premier Bank Senior Vice-President Jim van Lieshout with the assistance of Susan Polk, Larry Schwenn of the Wisconsin Business Development, and the Fort Community Credit Union assisted by Pat vanden Berg.
Maas Bros., of Watertown, became the General Contractor with Kevin Kohlhoff, Administrative Manager, Tony Meyers, Project Manager, and Kurt Altreuter, Project Superintendent. Boyd Coleman, Project Engineer/Architect, Struct Rite Design, Waukesha, made certain that the building did not collapse during the renovation and provided architecturally correct addition design. The workers struggled with previous structural changes during interior demolition and brought all the utilities to code.
During the construction and final décor, Chicken led the ideas and drive that made the building esthetically pleasing and functional. His work is not easily missed. The resulting ceilings, colors, interior doors, recycled old growth lumber for sills and base boards, bar, back bar, bathroom vanities, sound proofing panels, lighting, arches, entries, floor, interior wall design, and the German Heritage menu items are credited to his foresight.
Again, a special thank you to all those that worked on the adventure. We trust you will enjoy your stay.
The Heron’s Landing,
Ed & Caroline Soleska
Let us introduce ourselves
The Heron’s Landing is located in downtown Jefferson, right off of Highway 18. The restaurant is on the bank of the Rock River, and the dining rooms offers scenic views of the Rock River, Rotary Park, and the historic downtown area. Being situated right next to the Milwaukee St. foot bridge makes it an ideal destination when taking a walk from any part of Jefferson.