Challenges create opportunities

Steve Sazama, alias “Saz,” opened Saz’s State House restaurant in March 1976. Thus began Saz’s inextricable tie with the Milwaukee community. The business has grown to include Saz’s Catering, Saz’s Barbecue Products and Saz’s Festival Division.

“I’m fortunate because I love my business and I work with talented people who share my enthusiasm. It’s been a demanding year, but even in the midst of this challenging economy, we’ve had some exciting developments.

“We’ve always tried to grow in an organic way – building on our strengths while being open to new opportunities. The exposure we’ve received from being the official caterer for the Tundra Tailgate Zone at Lambeau Field has helped us open up the retail market for our barbecue products statewide.

“Perhaps our greatest challenge now is embracing the balance between our history for award-winning barbecue and expanding our catering services into finer cuisine.

“We have the talent and the experience. We just need to let people know that we not only cook a mean rack of ribs, we also present an amazing macadamia-crusted halibut or a roast pheasant breast with pecan‐blackberry glaze. And we’re working to find creative ways to change that perception.

“I really appreciate the opportunities that are opening up, and I’m so fortunate to have an accomplished team that rises to any challenge with creativity and excellence.”

Steve Sazama
Owner and president
Saz’s/SAZCO, Milwaukee
Industry: Restaurant, festivals, hospitality, off-premise catering and retail barbecue products
Number of employees: About 80 between catering & restaurant, with 250 additional seasonal employees for festivals
Coolest thing about the company: “We have employees that have been here over 20 years with many employees coming back each year for seasonal work. Some of our past employees are now sending their children to work with us.”

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