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CREATING CULINARY HISTORY

our STORY

With its rustic feel, hardwood floors and abundant photographs capturing historic Beloit, Merrill & Houston’s has branded itself to tell a great story, but most importantly, its focus is on the classic steakhouse with the highest quality steaks and seafood with down-to-earth and attentive service that makes you feel like you are at your best friend’s home. The interior décor represents Beloit in its entirety from the early days of Merrill & Houston to present time.

 

Orson Merrill and George Houston founded Merrill and Houston Iron Works in 1858, later named Beloit Ironworks in the 1890s and eventually renamed the Beloit Corporation. The walls of the restaurant are dressed with photographs and artifacts embracing legendary stories, people and places representing the city of Beloit and all the great people that built it.

The classic look, rustic theme and the uncompromised quality of the food and the service are the perfect recipe for an unforgettable night out.

MEET OUR TEAM

Brandon joins Merrill & Houston’s with nearly a decade of hospitality experience. His passion for the industry began when he started his career working at Buffalo Wild Wings in high school as a server. While earning his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Brandon led in various locations in the greater Madison area and roles such as Certified Trainer, Service Manager, Hospitality Manager, Assistant General Manager, and General Manager.

 

Brandon is now serving as General Manager, overseeing all operations for Merrill & Houston’s, Ironworks Hotel Events, and the Eclipse Event Center. Brandon is eager to continue the success of the restaurant & events, while building lasting relationships with the staff while executing impeccable service that defines Merrill & Houston’s.

Brandon resides in Edgerton, WI. In his free time, you can find him bowling, working on his home, or at a local Cars & Coffee with his girlfriend, Gabrielle, and three dogs: Ruby and Francine.

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GENERAL MANAGER
BRANDON BRABENDER
Bobby Walker Jr.
EXECUTIVE CHEF

Oklahoma native Bobby Walker Jr. has been the Executive Chef at Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint since opening in 2012.

In 2001, Bobby was hired as a dishwasher at the now defunct Café Belwah in Beloit. Over the years, Bobby had worked his way through the ranks and was promoted to Executive Chef at Café Belwah, which transitioned to Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint in 2012. In his 21 years at this property, Chef Bobby has held virtually every position in the kitchen, working under some of the most talented and influential chefs in the Stateline area. His experience with various styles of cooking and different types of cuisine has helped him develop an impressive culinary portfolio.

Making Memorable moments for diners is something Chef Bobby strives for every day. “Nothing in this business is more inspiring than hearing a guest say it’s the best meal they’ve ever had.”

Kaile has over a decade of experience working in this hospitality industry where she’s held roles from busser and server to supervisor and assistant general manager. 
 

Born in Beloit but raised in Lake Geneva, Kaile got her start in the service industry when she was just 16-years-old working at the Grand Geneva Resort as a busser. Over the years she was promoted to server then bartender. Throughout her time, she grew a passion for mixology and bartended for the Geneva Chophouse for 14 years where she was able to get creative and come up with new menus for the bar. 
 

Kaile came back to her birthplace when she was hired to begin her Geronimo journey with Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint as assistant general manager in August of 2021. She considers herself a veteran in fine dining and private events. Kaile enjoys hiking, kayaking, traveling and photography. She loves all things music, art and her two Blue Nose Pitbulls, Otis and Gus. 

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ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER
Kaile Kortner
JAMES HANSSEN
RESTAURANT MANAGER

James joins Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint with over a decade of experience in the food and beverage industry, from bussing tables to managing restaurants. He’s worked in a variety of roles including server, bartender, host and manager and he’s passionate about providing excellent customer service.

James started his career at just 15 years old in the Lake Geneva area. He quickly gained experience working at Geneva National where he served as a bartender before being promoted to manager.

In August 2023, James joined Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint as the restaurant manager. He’s excited about the change of pace and opportunity to serve new guests at Merrill & Houston’s. 

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Amanda Mauerman
BANQUET MANAGER

Amanda serves as the banquet manager for Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint. She joined the team while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. While living in Milwaukee, Amanda worked as a server for a restaurant inside the Potawatomi Casino. 

 

When she moved back to the Beloit area she commuted to school while working as a server at Merrill & Houston’s. After just a couple of months, she began working banquets before being promoted to manager. 

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