Featured bartender: Jason Schultz of Christie's
Christie's Pub & Grill, 3261 S. 13th St., is a long-time family-owned and operated establishment, but these days, the face of the place is Jason Schultz.
Jason and his mom, Eileen, are the driving forces behind the neighborhood gem, but Eileen is usually cooking in the kitchen while Jason keeps the bar.
On a recent evening, we walked in there, sat down, ordered a Guinness and heard, "Dammit!" come roaring from the kitchen.
"Mom must have burned herself on the sizzle plate again," says Jason, his blue eyes twinkling.
Suddenly, it feels like we are having dinner with family friends. This is the charm of Christie's, along with the nostalgic beer memorabilia, massive bar stools, custom-made bar top food trays and absolutely foodie-approved menu items.
Christie's originally opened in 1954 by Jason's grandparents as Christie's Inn. (Christie was their last name). From 1960 to 2008, the name was changed to Chrismart Lounge, a combination of their last name and his grandmother's first name "Martha." Jason and Eileen took it over in 2008 and it has been Christie's Pub and Grill ever since..
OnMilwaukee.com: So, what is your favorite drink to make?
Jason Schultz: Probably old fashioneds. And cosmos.
OMC: What's you favorite drink to consume?
JS: Makers on the rocks and a good beer on the side. I like IPAs, porters.
OMC: Do you ever drink at work?
JS: No, I never drink when I'm at work. I work with my family. My grandmother says, "I never drank behind the bar in 56 years ..." OK, OK.
OMC: Do you ever cut people off? How do you do it?
JS: Yeah, but I don't like doing it. I try to catch 'em at the door, before they come in. Then I might get the, 'Well, can I at least use the bathroom?' Absolutely not. That's the last thing I want you to do in here right now.
OMC: Have you tended bar beyond the family business?
JS: Yes. I lived in Atlanta and bartended at Dick & Harry's for eight years. During college, I worked at the Chancery on State Street.
OMC: What did you study?
JS: Human kinetics. I realized I don't have the heart strings to work in a hospital. I would just cry and drink tequila if I did. So, I became a massage therapist.
OMC: Where did you go to massage school?
JS: Blue Sky. But I haven't done body work since 2006.
(Meanwhile, Eileen comes out from the kitchen and sits down at the bar.)
OMC: The food was exceptional tonight. Your French onion soup and fish fry are amazing. And the carrot cake is to die for. Where did your recipes come from?
Eileen Schultz: They're mine. I get a lot of ideas at 5 a.m. The Texas caviar I used to make for the kids when they got home from school. The carrot cake, too. I used to make it in cupcake form, but they would polish off four or five of them at a time, which was useless, so I switched to cake form. And my Asian coleslaw I've been making forever.
OMC: Yeah, what's in that slaw?
ES: Ancient Chinese secret.
JS: Have I mentioned my mom is the female Don Rickles?
OMC: Prior to you and Jason running the business there was not food, right?
JS: Yeah, my grandma always wanted an eatery but my grandpa never did. So when mom and I took over, we gave grandma an eatery. Food has always been a big part of our family life.
OMC: What restaurants do you like in Milwaukee?
JS: I like Singha Thai. And Fortune. But you gotta order off the "red menu." It's real Chinese. You might have to ask for it, but it's worth it. I guarantee there's no egg foo young on it. Oh, and Sanford, of course.
OMC: So, would you describe yourself as a foodie? Your menu items definitely dip into the upscale bar food category.
JS: I don't know about "foodie." I like good food, I know that. I'll tell you one thing: I would never crush anyone online about their food. What I might like someone else might not like.
OMC: Eileen, you also own a hair salon, right?
ES: Yes. Hair was my first love. I did it for 45 years. (Eileen owns Harper's Hair Salon, 6713 W. Fairview Ave., and her other son is the manager). I always said when something you love becomes a job, it's done. I always knew one day I would just put the comb down, and then one day, I did.
OMC: Your family is so close. You seem to have such a real relationship with your sons. What's the secret?
ES: The boys were born and raised in a hair salon. My husband was working a lot. They were always with me, and other hairdressers. And I really belong being a mother of sons. It works for me. People don't always understand how we talk to each other, they think we're being disrespectful, but that's just how we are. And food has brought us together, too.
OMC: Jason, there's usually jazz music playing in here. You're quite a fan, eh?
JS: Yeah, I started playing drums when I was 13. Then my friends all moved to the suburbs and I stopped listening and playing so much metal and started studying Cuban and Latin music. And jazz. I listen to a lot of jazz. From the '50s and '60s I like Hank Mobley. For trumpet, I like Lee Morgan. For piano, Thelonius Monk. And I'm a big fan of Art Blakey and Charles Mingus. Oh, and John Patton on Hammond organ. Actually, I like organ so much because of the Beastie Boys' "Check Your Head" album.
OMC: How do you like this neighborhood?
ES: It's great. It's a melting pot.
JS: This is a safe place for anyone. We do not allow any discrimination. No bashing of anyone, no inappropriate use of words. "Gay" is not a substitution word. Just because you're in a bar doesn't mean you can bash ethnicities or lifestyles. I have pulled plates away from people who made racist comments.
love this place! seared scallops wrapped in pancetta. I mean cmon. wonderful and way better then alot of so called fancy places. Sit back, order have a few drinks. a good way to relax. happy fun, hate free zone. I love it lbck
Schultzie!!! What a delight to see you in this column! I still think of you and me and Sean and Jay tending bar together back in the day...wild nights, some of 'em! Love you, love your restaurant. Make sure to come and sit with me at my bar some night, if you're ever off. I'm at Maxie's Wednesdays and Saturdays. Right across from Harper's in fact. (Still at Tres Locos 5 days a week til 4 PM, too.) Congratulations on the great press you continue to get at Christie's; it's well-deserved. We'll be by again to see you soon! Mary D.
A great guy and a great restaurant. I wish all bartenders had the guts to confront all the stupid racists and close minded jerks that populate so many bars around Milwaukee. A true professional.
I've been to Christie's quit a few times. Jason is what I consider a "professional" bartender & I respect that. He greets you, he's friendly, has great product knowledge, and gives excellent service. And even though this is a story about a featured barkeep, I must also say that the food there is to die for. Long live Christie's!
4 comments about this article.
Post a comment / write a review.
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.