When Angie Wierzbinski and Amy Plennes purchased The National Cafe from Nell Benton in 2019, the two long-time friends had no idea that, within their first year of business ownership they’d confront not only the usual challenges of entrepreneurism, but also the uncertainty of a global pandemic.
During this week’s podcast, we chat with the two owners about their decision to take over the longtime neighborhood cafe, the magic that makes their partnership work and the grit they employed to make sure the business survived the first stretch of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along the way, they paint the picture of two friends who’ve made full use of their complementary talents to survive one of the most challenging times in restaurant history.
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Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.