Two Rivers, Wis. (WFRV) – “I’m third-generation Navy. My grandfather, my dad and I are all Navy,” said Jeff Tess.
For Tess, joining the navy was second nature. Growing up in Manitowoc, Tess had a fascination and knowledge of submarines from early on- He said he was drawn in from the beginning.
“My dad was on a carrier and there’s 3000 people (on there), my grandfather was on a frigate. It’s a very close-knit community, it’s like a family. I played sports in high school and I liked that team atmosphere. And the submarine I was on, we traveled and hunted things down and it was always exciting and always pretty cool,” Tess recalled.
For 10 years, Tess spent time aboard the U.S.S. Augusta and the U.S.S Pennsylvania doing what he loves; Cooking.
“I made all the bread, all the donuts, all the sticky buns. Chocolate cookies are worth a million dollars on a submarine, you can bribe anyone with a chocolate chip cookies,” Tess laughed.
Tess says those 10 years were the best of his life, peace below the sea.
“It was the most serene, peaceful existence in the world. You work eight hours, you sleep eight hours, you play games. You can’t worry about your family, you can’t worry about the world, you just do your job,” Tess said.
“So after you get out, you search for that serenity that you can’t find. Because even now, something can happen, there’s something going on. On a submarine for 90 days, nothing. Nothing matters other than what you’re doing,” he said.
Tess eventually found that peace again after joining Manitowoc County Vets and connecting with some of his fellow vets.
He found peace in another passion too; His love of cooking on the submarine. He’s turned that into his very own pub in Two Rivers, Submariners.
“This is a lifelong dream. I love food service. The whole world revolves around the kitchen, whether you like it or not. You work and you sleep and we’re the morale center, so cooking for people becomes very important and you get instant gratification,” said Tess.
But aside from good food and good times, most of all, Tess wants Submariners to act as a tribute to those who sacrificed it all.
“I’ve always wanted a place where you could come in, get a great sandwich, talk to somebody, somebody would listen, and an atmosphere that’s calm and serene and veteran-friendly,” said Tess.
“It’s a place where we can come. My (uncle’s photo) is back there, my grandpa is back there, my dad is back there, just a place where you can come and remember the people who did so much for us, so it’s important to me and I’m getting choked up,” he said.
Tess plans to dedicate the back wall of Submariners to photos of veterans who served just like his father, grandfather and uncle.
You can stop by Submariners at 4220 Memorial Drive in Two Rivers when they open at 11am.