By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jan 18, 2022 at 4:10 PM

It’s been almost 10 years since TrueMan McGee founded Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, a business created with the mission of offering customers a delicious, healthful alternative to fried foods.

Since then, the business has taken off. McGee not only operates a restaurant inside the Sherman Phoenix, 3536 W. Fond Du Lac Ave., but has successfully introduced a line of frozen springrolls, available at about 20 retail locations in Southeast Wisconsin including Sendik’s, Outpost Natural Foods and Festival Foods.

But, thanks to a new partnership with Milwaukee based frozen pizza manufacturer Palermo Villa, Inc., the frozen spring roll business will soon see expanded distribution locally, regionally and – ultimately – nationally.

Funky Fresh aims for national

Palermo Villa announced the news today that it has acquired a majority interest in Funky Fresh Spring Rolls. As part of the acquisition, Palermo Villa, Inc. and Funky Fresh Spring Rolls will form a new subsidiary named Funky Villa, LLC, which will maintain the frozen, branded Funky Fresh Spring Rolls products and work to expand the footprint of the frozen Funky Fresh Spring Rolls into other markets. 

“Funky Fresh is uniquely positioned in the marketplace as a quick, healthy, and fulfilling meal option for consumers,” said Giacomo Fallucca, CEO and Chairman of the Board for Palermo’s. “We are thrilled to work closely with TrueMan as the brand develops. There is significant potential to grow Funky Fresh and expand the availability of these non-traditional spring rolls in the local area and beyond.”

Funky Fresh founder, TrueMan McGee, will remain the operator of the restaurant side of the Funky Fresh business and its location in the Sherman Phoenix will remain open.

He will also work with Palermo’s on expanding production and distribution of the Frozen Spring Roll products and be involved in upcoming efforts to grow the food truck business in the next several months. Fallucca noted that McGee will also be an integral part of the new subsidiary and assist in its day-to-day operations, including marketing, sales, and new product development.

McGee says he couldn’t be happier with the partnership.

“I met Giacomo [Fallucca] at a FaB Wisconsin event years ago,” he says. “And at that time, I thought to myself: ‘We’re going to work together someday.’  Over the years, he’s been a mentor for me, and we’ve remained in contact.”

McGee says they’ve entertained a number of conversations about partnering over the past few years. Some were derailed by the pandemic. But, starting last March, they began pulling together a plan to move forward.

“This is something we’ve thought about, dreamed about and manifested,” says McGee. “We’ve worked our fingers to the bone. And I’m just extremely grateful to have gotten to this point. We’re thrilled to become part of and partner with a legendary food company that has so much rich history in Milwaukee and incredible expertise and success in the food industry.”

“When we started Funky Fresh nearly 10 years ago, our goal was to become a successful frozen food manufacturer,” he adds. “We accomplished that goal during one of the toughest times for small businesses. And now, thanks to this partnership, we can get our Funky Fresh Goodness out to a much broader market.”

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.