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 as a cashier at Buffalo Wild Wings. While getting his bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Brandon worked his way up serving in roles from server and hospitality manager to assistant general manager and general manager. He’s now serving as the general manager of Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint where he's eager to continue the success of the restaurant while building relationships with the staff and executing impeccable service that defines Merrill & Houston’s. 

 

Brandon resides in Edgerton, WI. In his free time, you can find him at a local Cars & Coffee with his girlfriend, Gabrielle, and two-year-old Golden Doodle, Ruby.

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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 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.”

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
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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Maria Salazar
EVENT MANAGER

Beloit native, Maria Salazar was our dining room manager since 2017. She went on to become our event manager in 2021. 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.”

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KURSTIN COFFEY
DINING ROOM MANAGER

Kurstin joined the team at Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint in 2021, bringing nearly a decade of service and hospitality experience to her role as dining room manager. She began her journey with Merrill & Houston's as a bartender and later cross-trained as a server where she learned the ins and outs of operations.

 

In just over a year, she was promoted to dining room manager, where she oversees operations and ensures guests have the most memorable experience. “I’ve always wanted to work for a place where they see my potential and I can grow within the company.” 

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