Reality TV stars may be a dime a dozen these days, but few are generating more buzz than Nicole Polizzi (Snooki) from MTV's "Jersey Shore."
So, when a club owner from Milwaukee goes out to dinner with Snooki, I gotta ask questions.
Indeed, Jake Dehne, operating partner at Suite Milwaukee, had dinner with Snooki last weekend in Milwaukee. Here's his story.
OnMilwaukee.com: So, admit it, do you watch "Jersey Shore" regularly?
Jake Dehne: I can't say I watch it regularly, but I do have this season's episodes on DVR piling up. With the appearances, I wanted to try to keep up with what was going on so I wasn't oblivious to the show. We had Jwoww back in February and the show was just starting to become popular. It is one of those shows people hate but can't miss, so I thought I would check it out.
OMC: Snooki comes to Milwaukee for an appearance at your club. Where do you take her for dinner?
JD: In the car ride to the hotel from the airport, she asked to get sushi for dinner. She proceeded to say that she only liked California rolls but also might be in the mood for steak. So not knowing what she might be in the mood for, I called my friend Omar on Milwaukee Street knowing he could accommodate anything. He set us up at Umami Moto, 718 N. Milwaukee St., in a booth in the back and made special order California rolls for her. She loved the place. She said she "couldn't believe Milwaukee had nice places."
OMC: And, did you tell your wife that you were dining with Snooki?
JD: My wife was going to come to dinner, but our 9:30 p.m. dinner reservations turned into 10:30 p.m. by the time Snooki was done "Snookifying" herself in her hotel room. So my wife had to cancel, as it wouldn't be until 11:30 p.m. before we were done with dinner. We ate quickly and got her to Suite by 11:45 p.m.
OMC: What did she order? Did people notice her?
JD: She ordered a Long Island iced tea along with the California roll. And, for the record, they make the Long Islands from scratch in big glasses at Umami. She had two in 45 minutes. People noticed her but left her alone. The staff there is professional about giving people like Snooki their space. Omar brings a fair amount of his VIPs to Suite and I do the same for him. It is about being comfortable and having room to breathe at times for them.
On the flight in she said she took pictures with everyone on the plane so she was kind of irritated to start her visit to Milwaukee. On a plane, you're not going anywhere so you have to deal with it. Part of fame means you need to cope with at times, I guess. Tough life.
OMC: What's she really like?
JD: She is very much like herself on the show and just as short -- 4'9" to be exact. On the car ride in on I-794 over the Hoan Bridge into Downtown she said, "Oh my God, you guys have an ocean, too?" Pretty funny stuff.
She also asked where all the cows were and couldn't believe we had tall buildings in Milwaukee. She talked about meeting Usher at the VMAs and said that it was cool to have celebrities want to meet her at the same time as her wanting to meet them.
She travels with a manager that filters all the requests and calls. They talked about her doing a sketch on an upcoming Jimmy Kimmel show that she thought would be the funniest thing ever. It is a spoof on "Sesame Street." She gets paid to tweet as most celebrities do, so she doing that.
She also just finished filming season three of "Jersey Shore," and said it was the best one yet.
She also said she couldn't remember what she did the day before. So, who knows?!
OMC: How'd the appearance at Suite go? Any crazy stories?
JD: She partied pretty hard and took pictures with as many people as she could in three hours. A few guys bought her champagne bottles. She stayed an extra hour past her contracted time so that is always a good sign.
She was pretty exhausted with all the post-VMA stuff she had to do that week, but still let loose. She said it was her first club appearance in months since they were filming the show for the past three months.
Overall, the appearance went well. I decided to make it more of an intimate event for die-hard Snooki fans so we increased the price to cover costs and make it a comfortable night.
I had heard horror stories about The Situation's (Mike Sorrentino) appearance with too many people showing up, so we adjusted. We sold out all our tables and definitely had more female fans in than male.
Surprisingly, not many customers where stereotypical of the show. She did ask if Milwaukee had any "Guido guerillas" for her, since she is single. I chose not to comment/respond.
Nothing too crazy happened, a few people made pickle hats and wore them into Suite. All around it was a very smooth night. She didn't leave with any "guerillas," but definitely followed a recipe for a monster hangover.
OMC: I'll ask this 'cause I know every guy wants to know ... are they real?
JD: Yeah, her eyelashes were definitely fake! Ah, my wife has me trained well. Oh, those. They were real from what I could tell.
OMC: Any more "Jersey Shore" people in the future?
JD: We have Ronnie coming in on Oct. 15, and I am teaming up with Buckhead Saloon for that event. We are going to do his appearance a little different than Snooki. He will be at Buckhead until midnight and then to Suite for the rest of the night. We are keeping the cost low so that more people can attend with having two spots hosting him, however arriving early will be crucial.
We are not doing any pre-sold tickets but will have tickets to give away in nights leading up to Oct. 15. It isn't a bar crawl, but an opportunity for more people to meet him and party with him. With the two places, we cover a larger demographic and help bring more people to Old World Third Street.
After Ronnie, I am not sure we will bring anyone else from the show in. Fees keep increasing to ridiculous numbers. So, until that bubble bursts, I think I will have to wait.
The Situation makes $20,000 an appearance these days and Snooki wasn't cheap, either. I think they will ride their 45 minutes of fame instead of the usual 15 that reality stars do and then they will head off into "reality has-been land."
OMC: Any other celebrity appearances at Suite in the future?
JD: Melinda from "Real World Austin," and a Germantown native, will be hosting a Wednesday night viewing of the newest MTV challenge. She is a cast member and will be in several episodes. The showing will start with the season premiere on October 6. It will be from 8 to 10 p.m., and will be a cover free event. It will most likely go throughout the entire season.
We have Wisconsin native, Kirk Dewindt, from season six of "The Bachelorette" coming on Oct. 1. No cover before 11 p.m.
On October 29, we have Cheske Spencer who was the head werewolf, Sam Utley, from the "Twilight" series hosting one of our Halloween parties on that Friday.
After that, we'll wait and see what is available and what fits with what we are doing at the time. They all give us opportunities to bring new people to the street and into Suite.
There are a lot of people who still haven't made it to Old World 3rd Street and the options on the street are so diverse and unique to anything else in Milwaukee.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.