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Jay and Casey Oricchio have taken ownership of Snowball’s Bar in East Ellsworth. The local husband-and-wife assumed management last month from two other couples: Luke and Jenna Fleming and Luke and Angie Nelson. (Herald photo by Bill Kirk)

Oricchios new owners of Snowball's Bar

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In a way, although Snowball’s Bar in East Ellsworth has changed ownership, it continues to be part of the family.

While no longer managed by relatives of the original owners, as was the case with outgoing couple-in-charge Luke and Jenna Fleming and their partners Luke and Angie Nelson, incoming management Jay and Casey Oricchio feel a kinship nonetheless. Unlike Fleming, whose late mother was the previous owner and daughter of the namesake originators, Mrs. Oricchio has parents who once were employed at the establishment.

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“After church on Sundays, we (kids) would ask them if we could come here—it was always a treat,” she said Wednesday about the business her and her husband took over last month.

That the local native was destined to follow the lead of her folks, Scott and Joanne Hines, at the business shouldn’t be surprising. Mrs. Oricchio said she’s been waitressing since age 14. Initially, it was at the former Kruse’s Kitchen around the corner in east end and, starting almost the same time since then, it’s been at the Ellsworth Rod and Gun Club’s chicken dinners. Last year, she began working for the Flemings and Nelsons at Snowball’s.

“Sarcastically, they remarked this summer that I’m the one who should be running this place,” she said.

After she realized they were serious, the Oricchios took them up on their offer. They intend to keep the operation as it’s been at the well-known premises established in 1958, Mrs. Oriccho said.

She and her mate are impressed with the total renovation done on the 1888-era structure by Fleming and the crew from the Original Black Pine enterprise he’s also managed. It meant remodeling both inside and out, in honor of his late mom, who succeeded the first owners (her parents), Vernon and Velda Snow, in 1989. Mrs. Oricchio said she’s especially pleased with the interior spaciousness, with its seating capacity of 99.

“It’s one of the biggest venues here,” she said, referring to the entire community and surrounding area, for the type of events she wants to promote including class reunions, company holiday parties, birthdays parties and more. An adjacent deck provides an additional option in appropriate weather. She plans to host bands at least once a month.

For more please read the Dec. 10 print version of the Herald. 

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Bill Kirk
Bill Kirk has been editor at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, Wisconsin, since 1988. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.
(715) 273-4334
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