In 1946, three brothers opened an Italian grocery business on Brady Street called Glorioso’s. It remained in the same space until last December, when the business moved across the street to 1020 E. Brady St.
Today, the Glorioso brothers -- Joe (age 89), Eddie (87) and Teddy (81) -- are still a part of the business, but four generations and 13 family members now run day-to-day operations. Mike Glorioso, Joe’s only son, is the co-manager along with Teddy’s only son, Felix Glorioso.
"We all yell and scream at each other all day. Then we kiss and hug at the end of the day. Then we go home and start all over the next day," says Mike, who grew up on Brady Street and today lives Downtown.
Mike says Glorioso’s outgrew the old space 25 years ago, but there was nowhere else to go. The family did not want to leave Brady Street, but there weren’t other options on the block at the time.
"We had become the cornerstone of Brady Street. We had been through some bad times -- we weathered the storm in the 70s and 80s -- and we wanted to stay and enjoy the tremendous upswing," says Mike. "So, we waited."
In 2009, the Glorioso family bought the building -- which then housed the Brady Street Pharmacy and Cafe -- from Jim Searles. The Gloriosos still own the building across the street and plan to use it for cooking classes, an expanded catering business and their existing mail-order Internet business.
The renovation process took about a year, and uncovered beautiful cream city brick walls. The new space is much larger than the old one, and it has a very open, modern feel to it.
Glorioso’s offers Italian specialty foods, including oils, noodles, frozen pasta, spices, sauces, snacks, cheese, nuts, candies, kitchen items, espresso and espresso makers, a meat department, produce and more.
Plus, the bakery features a nice selection of Italian cookies, a coffee bar and a gelato station and the deli offers many prepared salads and made-to-order sandwiches, panini and calzones. There is a small eating area located along the north wall in the same spot where people once ate at the Brady Street Cafe.
The wine department is stocked with about 75 percent Italian wines, many of which are in a "value section" that’s priced at $15 or less. Sparkling wines and Lambruscos are also available, as well as wines from New Zealand, California, Chile and Argentina.
"We’re going to continue to add to our Italian wines," says wine manager Sabina Magyar. "We want to have 75-80 percent of the selection to be from Italy. And we’re going to soon offer more grappas and liqueurs."
Later this spring, there will be an outdoor dining patio and a weekend fruit and vegetable market.
According to Mike, reinvention has been the key to Glorioso’s success. The business has always had a niche as an Italian grocery store, but they didn’t completely rest on those laurels. They were committed to having other specialities, too.
Years ago, Glorioso’s offered a very large selection of produce, but then supermarkets came onto the scene and took over the market. So, Glorioso’s switched the focus and beefed up their meat department until they were recognized as great butchers. But big chain stores eventually dominated that area, too, and today, the business focuses on prepared, take-home foods to accommodate busy schedules.
"We offer quality, and at reasonable prices," says Mike. "We blend specialty with staple items."
Mike says the Food Network has helped to educate people -- particularly young people -- about good food and has inspired people to be more selective about what they eat and where it comes from. Buying local is important to many shoppers, and Glorioso’s is committed to the cause, with many local items for sale from businesses like Peter Sciortino’s Bakery, Bolzano Meats, Alterra Coffee Roasters and Kallas Honey.
"We’re also going to introduce a small start-up cookie company in the area soon, too," says Mike, who joined the business a few years ago after a successful 26-year career in marketing.
"I said I wanted to come back to the business, and my dad said, ‘Great, put on an apron.’ The real key to this business is hard work and passion. You simply cannot do this job without passion for coming to work and providing quality food for people."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.