Creating Culinary History
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
Oscar Flores has more than 15 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industries. Before beginning his career with Geronimo in 2018, Oscar worked in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.
Oscar discovered his passion for the restaurant industry at the age of 14. He worked his way through the ranks from cook to server to bartender and earned a management position by the time he was 18. Hungry for more knowledge and experience, he spent the next few years managing multiple restaurants in the Delavan and Lake Geneva areas, including the Geneva ChopHouse and PIER 290.
The greatest lessons Oscar has learned in his professional career are to treat others as you want to be treated and to confide in your team. He also believes that his greatest successes have come from learning and growing with his team.
Oscar resides in Wisconsin, but he also enjoys new culinary experiences, traveling around the world and being exposed to new places, people and cultures. When he’s not working, you’ll find him spending time with his family and friends.
Bobby Walker Jr.
Oklahoma native Bobby Walker Jr. has been the executive chef at Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint in Beloit, Wisconsin, since it opened in 2012.
In 2001, Bobby was hired as a dishwasher at the now defunct Café Belwah in Beloit. By 2009, he had worked his way through the ranks and was hired as executive chef at Cafe Belwah, which transitioned to Merrill & Houston’s in 2012. In his 14 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 customer say it’s the best meal they’ve ever had.”
DINING ROOM MANAGER
Beloit native, Maria Salazar has been our dining room manager since 2017. In 2011, Maria was hired as a breakfast server at the now defunct Café Belwah. In her six years at this property, Maria has held many positions in the restaurant. She began her work with the front-of-house staff as a busser, hostess and breakfast server.
During the transition from Café Belwah to Merrill & Houston’s in 2012, Maria decided to follow in the footsteps of her father, Merrill & Houston’s sous chef Valentin Hernandez, and began to work as a prep cook. She quickly gained the trust of the kitchen staff as she worked her way up to chef and supervisor.
Maria has a passion for Merrill and Houston’s and has always shown great interest in learning more in all areas of the business. She has performed many administrative duties on top of her daily responsibilities. She quickly was able to develop her leadership skills and enhance her knowledge of the service industry.
Maria looks forward to sharing her acquired knowledge in the years to come. “I love what I do and being able to give new hires the opportunity to learn and grow in the restaurant business is something that I look forward to with my position.”
ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER
Arden started in the service industry when she was 8 years old, working at her parents’ convenient store that had a sandwich shop inside. She worked at Fibs in Rockton for 13 years before becoming a part of the Geronimo family in early 2018. Within one year of working as a bartender at Merrill & Houston’s, she was promoted to bar captain. Arden saw the opportunity for growth and was ready to offer the knowledge she had obtained from 24 years in the service industry. She loves making guests feel at home and putting a smile on their faces. Outside of work, Arden spends time with her husband and two boys and loves doing crafts, especially with wine corks.