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 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.