Brother, sister open Pop's Malt ShopELLSWORTH, Wis. -- Josh Hudek and Bonny Brown wanted a business venture they could share. The brother and sister didn’t know exactly what kind of business it would be, Brown said, but whatever it was, they knew they wanted to do it together.
By: Bill Kirk, The Republican Eagle
ELLSWORTH, Wis. -- Josh Hudek and Bonny Brown wanted a business venture they could share. The brother and sister didn’t know exactly what kind of business it would be, Brown said, but whatever it was, they knew they wanted to do it together.
“We hang out a lot,” Brown explained.
The siblings’ goal came to fruition earlier this month when they opened Pop’s Malt Shop in Ellsworth's west business district building most recently housing the Rock N’ Roll Café.
“It’s classic American cooking,” Hudek said, adding the restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and — of course — malts. Twenty-seven flavors are featured, as are old-fashioned ice cream sodas. Fountain personnel are attired in white shirts and bow ties.
“We wanted something simple and easy to remember,” Brown said of the reason for the name.
Brown has more than 26 years of experience in food service. Previous stints include Darla’s in Stillwater, Minn., Champ’s American in the Twin Cities and Perkins.
Hudek praised his sister’s baking ability, listing shortcake, pies and cream puffs as the type of dessert fare to be offered at the new restaurant.
In addition to satisfying those with a sweet tooth, the siblings are determined to cater to any special dietary needs, they said. Whether it’s diabetes, a gluten sensitivity or lactose intolerance, the shop will adapt to it.
“Anyone who comes in should be able to eat,” Hudek said, mentioning even the items containing peanuts are separated from the others.
The pair has invested in equipment for this purpose, she said. For example, there’s a separate work station. The use of red plates signals a special need.
Following those guidelines means the staff of 20 part-time employees had to get additional training. Brown and Hudek spent about six weeks preparing their staff for the Aug. 3 opening. Servers also had to pass a test in order to be employed, Brown said.
But accommodating special diets isn’t the only thing that sets Pop’s Malt Shop apart. The restaurant doesn’t use heat lamps, Hudek said. Consistency is emphasized, along with good portions, great food and reasonable prices.
In addition, the restaurant has a full liquor license. Still, alcohol won’t be heavily promoted; the primary reason for it to be stocked is for large functions such as class reunions.
The shop will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. The relatively later closing time means there are already plenty of younger people hanging out in the shop late into the evening, Brown said.