Caterers acquire Majdecki’s

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With new owners, the Majdecki’s Inn restaurant in St. Francis is in line for an extreme makeover, including a renovation, an expanded menu, new signage and a possible name change.
The restaurant at 2247 E. St. Francis Ave. was purchased in December by Tesa Santoro Schulte and her business partner, Aric Fisher.
Santoro Schulte and Fisher bought the Santoro family real estate investment from Santoro Schulte’s cousin, chef Jason Santoro. Santoro Schulte and Fisher also own Murphy’s in the Mall, at The Shops of Grand Avenue, and Gourmet to Go, a catering company and café, 5814 W. Blue Mound Rd.
Santoro Schulte, who is the general manager of Majdecki’s, and Fisher plan to rejuvenate the atmosphere of the St. Francis restaurant with contemporary dishware, flatware and glasses. She wants to add variety to the limited and outdated menu, including dinner salads and pasta dishes.
"The whole area around Majdecki’s is developing so fast. Within three to five years, or sooner, we will be sitting in the next hot spot," said Santoro Schulte. "We won’t change it dramatically, but enough to keep up with the times."
The acquisition of Majdecki’s was part of a larger plan involving Gourmet to Go, which opened in September 2003. Santoro Schulte and Fisher have been catering together for nearly three years. They started as part-time coffee vendors for the Midwest Airlines Center, occasionally bringing sandwiches and soon after branched out for private events.
When they were tired of renting kitchen space from restaurants to accommodate catering, Santoro Schulte and Fisher bought the small shop and have since doubled their business.
Gourmet to Go serves gourmet-style sandwiches, soups, salads and specialty coffee. Santoro Schulte said the premise of the business is to make everything from scratch – Fisher does 90% of the cooking – and to use the freshest ingredients possible.
"We don’t use processed meat or dry herbs. It is a gourmet process," said Santoro Schulte. "We use good local products from the city markets and bakeries. We use Alterra coffee."
Most of the café’s business consists of luncheons for corporate clients, according to Santoro Schulte.
"Clients keep using us again and again because we are not a corporate company. We don’t have regulations and can make last-minute orders," said Santoro Schulte. "We have grown our business by word of mouth, by trying to be accommodating and by not cutting corners. Given enough time, we can make what customers want."
Gourmet to Go even caters to Murphy’s in the Mall, bringing batches of sandwiches, soup and bakery items daily, because the mall restaurant does not have a kitchen. Fisher said a kitchen is in the business plan for Murphy’s with the hope of bringing burgers into the mall food court.
If business picks up inside the mall, they hope to remodel by next January.
Majdecki’s will allow for Gourmet to Go to continue its sprawl across Milwaukee. According to Santoro Schulte, once the company’s business loan is financed, she and Fisher are going to build a full kitchen in the basement of Majdecki’s, specifically for catering.
"We have been getting a lot of business downtown lately, and this way, we can make the hot food at Majdecki’s and bring it to the events more efficiently, being five minutes away," said Santoro Schulte.
They also plan to open additional Gourmet to Go cafes and restaurants in the near future, possibly with drive-through windows.
Majdecki’s may change in appearance, but not in spirit. According to Santoro Schulte, the made-to-order Friday Fish Fry will continue, and the menu will be similar to what its previous owner offered.
"We are kicking around the idea of changing the name, though," Santoro Schulte said. "We want to make our mark and make it our own."

Feb. 20. 2004 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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