Staff Spotlight: Meet GM Bill Kern

While Odyssey Fun Center has been temporarily closed due to COVID-19, new General Manager Bill Kern has been creating some homemade creations in the kitchen, available for curbside pickup every day from 4-7pm. Check out the latest menu and order online here.

We sat down with him (over Zoom, of course) to learn about his history with bowling, some trivia, and all things hospitality, from brews to ice cream dreams.

Welcome to Odyssey! What drew you to our fun center?

I was drawn to Odyssey for several reasons. First, it was something completely different from what I have done in the past. I love bowling, and this is an opportunity to really learn a lot about the bowling community. 

I have always been a very hands on person. I feel that same sense of camaraderie here as well. I strongly believe in personal relationships with our guests, employees, and vendors and will carry that on here at Odyssey.

What are you most excited for? 

To get to know the people within the community and to help them have fun!

I would love to see us improve any way that we can, but my passion is in food and beverage and hospitality. I think I can bring a lot to the table there.

Any plans for Odyssey’s kitchen?

Yes, but I refuse to change things that work. Guests already have expectations of what they can enjoy when they come here, and that won’t go away. I only want to add to their experience.

I went to culinary school in Chicago and honed my skills under the instruction of some great chefs. Millie’s was an homage to my Wisconsin roots, by bringing supper club style dining to the modern age.

Bowling has Wisconsin roots… tell us a bowling story.

I once attended a holiday party with Paul Bartolotta (of Milwaukee’s Bartolotta Restaurant Group). I had the chance to tell him that he was my main influence in cooking and inspired me to pursue a career in hospitality.

Beer and bowling go hand-in-hand, how will you use your Cicerone Certification?

A cicerone is just a fancy word for beer nerd. I would love to see more local craft brews available for our guests.

What’s the current relationship/what would you like to see?

There are great breweries all over the state of Wisconsin, but the closer they are to our front door, the fresher that beer will be. Some local favorites of mine include Plymouth Brewing Company out of Plymouth, Switchgear Brewing Co. out of Elkhart Lake, and 3 Sheeps Brewing Company in Sheboygan. I will always have a soft spot for Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee. They make my favorite beer of all time, Fixed Gear, an American Red IPA.

What do you like to do outside of work?

My hobby is making ice cream. I like to experiment with unique flavor combinations. My favorite so far has been honey ice cream with saffron and chamomile. My nickname growing up was the Colonel. I play drums and guitar. I worked at the world’s first and only Michelin starred brewery.

Since we have been closed, what are you dreaming up?

I would love to someday offer some of my homemade flavors of ice cream to our guests. Maybe even in a Beer Float! Yes, beer and ice cream works!

We can’t wait for you to meet Bill! Until then, order curbside! Catch Bill stewing up his favorites, like this tomato sauce his Nana used to make.