Our Family Story
The Kolsch Family
The Kolsch family has been in the hospitality business for generations. The journey began shortly after WWII when Aunt Bea and Uncle Norm opened the “Blatz Palm Garden” in downtown Milwaukee. This is significant because this is where Norman and Hank’s mother and father met. Grandpa Duke followed in the 50’s by starting “Dukes” on Milwaukee’s south side. Similarly, Norm and Hank’s parents owned the “Corner Tap” in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
In 1954 Aunt Bea headed for Florida and opened the “4 O’Clock Club” in Ft. Lauderdale. By 1960, Aunt Bea started the “Mousetrap” restaurant chain in Fort Lauderdale and within a short time expanded to Miami and Cocoa Beach. Soon after, Norm, Hank and Gene moved to Miami to go to college and began working for their Aunt Bea at the “Mousetrap”. Aunt Bea made each one of those boys work from the bottom up, washing dishes, scrubbing floors, waiting on tables and training with certified European chefs. The “Mousetrap” restaurants offered a unique menu concept. A bar that incorporated high-quality dinners as well as traditional bar food. At the time, most bars and restaurants had menus based simply on family recipes.
During the early space age, Uncle Norm opened the “Mouse Trap” in Cocoa Beach. In 1969, Hank went to Atlanta to help run the Atlanta “Mousetrap”. Soon Hank and Norm came to Cocoa Beach to join the family business. In 1969, Hank, as part of the opening team went to Atlanta to help run the “Mousetrap”. He then followed Uncle Norman to Cocoa Beach in the 70’s to open the “Mousetrap” during the early space age. Norman soon followed. When the Mousetrap burned down in 1975, the Kolsch family continued their culinary journey by purchasing the “Loose Caboose” which is now called Ashley’s. The next year they rebuilt the “Mousetrap” in Cocoa Beach with Norm and Hank at the helm. Later on, Gene went with Aunt Bea to Fort Lauderdale and opened “La Club International” and “Singer Island Mousetrap”.
When Captain Ed purchased the Cocoa Beach “Mousetrap” in the 80’s, Norman, Hank, Gene continued their family tradition by managing various restaurants in the area. In 1998, Norm and Hank opened “Chowders Seafood Grill” in Rockledge.
In 2010, Norman and Hank took over “Redheads Martini Bar” in Port Canaveral and changed the name to “Baja Tavern and Eats”.
The 3 brothers combined have more than 90 plus years experience in the restaurant business. Norm is the man behind the scene counting nickels and dimes, Hank is the guy running the bar, dancing around in his big hat and welcoming all those who come in with a laugh and a smile. “Mean” Gene ( well known from Bernard’s Surf) is the one up front talking to all the local patrons.
Our goal is and always has been to bring to this community together for great food, great atmosphere, and great times.