Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:27 pm
Pickerman’s restaurant chain coming to Milwaukee area
By Elizabeth Geldermann, of SBT
A franchise restaurant for Pickerman’s, "The Original Soup Café," is under construction in Oak Creek, occupying an out-lot in front of Kohl’s Department Store, 9011 S. Howell Rd.
The Oak Creek Plan Commission gave approval for owners Robert and Debra Pampuch to develop a 4,022-square-foot building in June, according to Edward Siira of the Oak Creek Plan Commission.
Debra Pampuch said Pickerman’s will be open for business by Jan. 1.
According to Pampuch, the restaurant will occupy 2,700 square feet of space. Pampuch said the additional space may be used for seating, a creamery or the possibility of a lease from another restaurant.
"At the commission, everyone was supportive," said Siira. "There is a shortage of sit-down type restaurants in Oak Creek, and the Plan Commission and Common Council welcome the establishment with open arms because of that."
Pampuch said the new Pickerman’s will be built using a component building designed by Zabest Commercial Group Inc., Brookfield. "Pickerman’s will be a white building with a green roof and a fireplace," said Pampuch. "We want the restaurant to be attractive and homey looking to reflect our menu, with a contemporary casual look."
According to Pampuch, the cafe she and her husband own will be the first freestanding Pickerman’s in its corporate history, and the first in metropolitan Milwaukee.
"Pickerman’s was originally a sandwich shop located in strip malls, but we have taken it to the ‘fast casual’ concept," said Pampuch.
Pampuch said Pickerman’s offers eight different soups daily, salads, deli sandwiches and its new signature Danish Dinner Sandwich, an open-face sandwich eaten with a knife and fork.
Although Pickerman’s is an order-sit-eat type of restaurant, like Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Noodles & Company, Guy Chiattello, chief executive officer of Pickerman’s Development Inc., said the Pickerman’s dining experience is superior to that of most fast casual restaurants.
"We have the fastest fast casual restaurant," said Chiattello. "When you sit down, your soup is served right away, and when you finish your soup, the rest of the order comes."
The first Pickerman’s was a side project of Chiattello’s in 1972, when he was a professor of business at the University of Iowa. Originally, Pickerman’s was a specialty sandwich shop.
Chiattello added soup to the menu when he franchised Pickerman’s in 1998 and said within the past year the franchise has grown and developed into a fast casual restaurant.
"It is fun and exciting to have a concept restaurant where the food is built around soup," said Chiattello. "Our food complements our soup, as opposed to the normal approach where the soup is seen as a side."
Chiattello said the company is planning to open five other Pickerman’s restaurants in the Milwaukee area, but the firm is still searching for specific sites in Brookfield, New Berlin, Waukesha and Milwaukee.
Nov. 14, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee