Michael Rossi is a natural in the service industry. Although he didn’t plan on becoming a career server, he knew, from his first shift at Chi-Chi’s, that he was passionate about the position.
A year and a half ago, Rossi started working for The Swingin’ Door Exchange, 219 E. Michigan Ave., and is even happier and more invested in his job than ever.
"I work for the best people I have ever worked for. I am passionate about their business and the food we serve and the service we provide," says Rossi. "Best of all, I feel I have stake in their business and my service really makes a difference."
OnMilwaukee: So where did you work between your first job at Chi-Chi’s and Swingin' Door?
Michael Rossi: After I left Chi-Chi’s I opened the Brisco County Wood Grill in Menomonee Falls. Then I opened the Cheesecake Factory at Mayfair and later worked at Cafe Benelux before coming here.
What’s your favorite item or items on the menu?
The beet salad with goat cheese and pecans is delicious. I also think we have the best Reuben in Milwaukee – our corned beef is made in house. We also have great ribs and pork chops.
Do you consider yourself a "foodie?"
I hate that term, but that being said, I do go out to eat maybe five or more meals a week. I can’t believe how much the culinary scene has blown up in the past decade in Milwaukee. With the exception of Sanford I think I’ve been to every well-known restaurant.
Is Sanford on your dining bucket list?
For sure. I would like to take my dad for his birthday in June.
What are some of your go-to restaurants?
I really love Amilinda, The Noble, Bacchus, The Capitol Grill, Ardent, Morel … so many. I love Hinterland, too. I live in the Third Ward and it’s practically in my backyard.
What kind of restaurants would you like to see more of in Milwaukee?
I would like to see more tasting menus, like at Ardent.
Do you like to cook?
No, not really. I can make a porkchop, maybe, but not really. I leave the cooking to the professionals.
Where’s your favorite burger joint?
I like Oscar’s on Pierce a lot – and it’s very reasonably priced. I also still love Elsa’s burgers. Those are probably my two favorites.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love to see movies and I’m at the Oriental or the Downer three or four times a month. Love to read and to go out. I also really love walking around the city and especially by the lake.
Do you own a car?
I do own a car but I don’t drive it very much. I walk pretty much everywhere. I drive to see my sister in Brookfield.
You mentioned you like going out. Where are some of your places to go in the city?
My favorite bar in Milwaukee is Tin Widow and I really like The Newport, too. I also love going to Summerfest, but you have to do it "right." Just go with a group of friends and don’t overplan it – just find a space near a beer tent and a bathroom and enjoy yourself.
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.