The sign for downtown West Bend’s newest grocery is now in place as Green Dog Market is getting closer to opening.
Stefanie Ulma, owner of Grasshopper Restaurant, 241 N. Main St., is planning on opening the store in the building next door to Laurel’s Camera & Gifts at 237 N. Main St.
The store will feature house-made products from the Grasshopper including dressings, burgers, all the organic grass-fed meats along with cheese, wine, beer and necessities.
“The store fits the restaurant,” said Ulma. “People keep asking us to sell our dressings or can we buy the mushroom burgers, and now they can.”
The store will also offer free delivery to neighbors in West Bend with an added plan similar to meals on wheels for the elderly. “My mom used to do that and I thought it was cool,” Ulma said. “With our delivery, we can do two checks a week on the elderly; bring a hot meal from the restaurant and groceries. This way families would know their loved one is getting food and they’re being checked on.”
Part of Ulma’s larger plan also includes a rooftop garden that will provide produce for the grocery and benefit the restaurant.
In order to get the grocery off the ground, Ulma had to make some difficult decisions. The toughest was closing the restaurant Friday nights. “To get the grocery store to the point where I needed to get it I’m changing the hours of the restaurant and Friday nights will have to go away right now.”
Ulma has been working on the grocery plan the last two years, but said she wasn’t making headway because of the demanding schedule at the restaurant. “Deciding to take away Friday nights was a very difficult decision but one that was needed. This is going to make a giant difference so I can meet with contractors and get the store open,” Ulma said.
Grasshopper opened in March 2010. It started as a cozy place to get high-quality food for breakfast and lunch in an atmosphere that was uber trendy with an old school Audrey Hepburn/Frank Sinatra flare. Since then it’s grown and morphed to a relaxed indoor library setting with a long bar yet the excellent food remains.
“I’m excited to do something else for West Bend that’s different than just this restaurant,” said Ulma. “One thing that will stay the same will be delivering to the customer the best of the best. It’s never been about the money it’s been about giving a great product to the people.”
More information on Grasshopper Restaurant at http://eatatgrasshopper.com/