Q. How did you get into the restaurant business?
A. When we were looking to enter the bar business, Angie and I thought that it would be very important to offer food as well as drinks. We wanted to follow more in the tradition of the Wisconsin tavern and be more than just a shot-and-a-beer bar. A bar business is a lot more versatile that way.
Q. What is your favorite part about owning/running a restaurant?
A. There are a lot of different ways to be creative with food—drinks, too—but when you think of how many different types of cuisine there are in the world the possibilities are really limitless. Of course, we love our staples like meatloaf, fish fry, and breakfasts, but we have started adding more and more specials to our everyday menu.
Q.What is the most challenging part of your job?
A. The hours are probably the most challenging. Angie and I are here every day usually longer than 12 hours, and we’re open seven days a week. On the other hand, there’s always something going on and never time to be bored, so we’re not complaining. It so much better to always have something to do.
Q. With the challenges of the current economy, what steps have you taken to continue to drive your business forward?
A. The same day we were forced to shut down, we shifted to curbside carryout. We had tons of corned beef for St. Patrick’s day, and we were lucky to be able to sell out by the end of that night. It was very sudden, and we were given no notice at all. We also did what we could to offer drink setups to go, such as Brandy Old Fashioneds, Bloody Marys, and Margaritas. We still offer all those services, but now that we are able to be open at limited capacity and with social distancing, people have started coming back for in-person dining. It’s slow, but we’ve noticed a steady increase of customers dining inside. For as long as we could, we also emphasized our outdoor space for dining and musical performances. It’s more challenging indoors, but we’re trying to keep offering all the same services to our customers.
Q. How often do you eat at your own restaurant? And what’s your favorite dish?
A. We eat here frequently, which I think is actually important for quality control, especially when you have several cooks. We like to try everything out. Most of the menu is made up of Angie’s and my favorites, so we cycle around the whole menu. I love our tenderloin steak sandwich that we hand cut here and our burgers, all served on Cardinali’s bread. Angie loves our salads and omelets off the breakfast menu and the Broasted chicken.
Q. What makes your restaurant stand out from others, what is something particularly unique?
A. For the size of our kitchen, we somehow manage to have a lot of variety. We don’t just think one way about things, and we still keep a focus on quality and detail.
Q. How do you cope with the everyday pressure of restaurant life?
A. We have a really great, very reliable staff that believes in what we’re trying to do here, and everyone is willing to go the extra mile to make sure that things are done right. That’s especially important now, when cleanliness is more important than ever.
Q. What advice would you give other entrepreneurs that are starting out in the restaurant business or small business?
A. Initially folks have a dream and they want that every detail of that dream to happen instantly. It takes time, so “slow and steady” is the best motto. Don’t bite off too much to chew and don’t make sudden changes unless you absolutely have to do so.
Q. Anything new and notable you’d like us to share for the upcoming year?
A. We hope to increase our special offerings and make a full return to in-person dining and live entertainment. I think everyone hopes to get back to the way things were…