Kim Fintel of Hartland had 25 years' experience in the food and beverage industry - everything from busing to managing - when she opened Kim's Lakeside in Pewaukee five years ago.
"I decided to take a risk and try it for myself," she says.
The gamble paid off, and Fintel has now opened a second restaurant in Stone Bank: Kim's Gourmet Pizza Pub.
Twice as nice
"I had a great feeling immediately," Fintel says about the location. "This area was ripe for what we wanted to do: a family-friendly, family-style restaurant featuring the best pizza we could possibly make," she says.
Customers shouldn't let the word "pub" throw them off: "Kids are not just welcome - they're fully encouraged!
"I consider it more of a restaurant than a bar, whereas the Lakeside is most certainly more of a bar than a restaurant," Fintel explains.
Must have crust
The pizza crust is a family recipe from Fintel's business partner, Josh Thompson, whose family was in the pizza business for years.
"His parents are retired, but they shared their recipe with us. They came in from Arizona and gave us a pizza tutorial. It was fun to do that with family and keep their tradition alive," says Fintel.
While the pub's best seller is the build-your-own pizza, a close second is the Popeye Prosciutto: spinach, fresh garlic, prosciutto, aged balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, fresh ground pepper and garlic asiago white sauce.
Another popular choice is the Fiery Meatball, which features homemade meatballs and pepperoni made with spicy ghost peppers.
Eats and treats
Other menu items include short rib tacos, shrimp po' boy, black truffle cheeseburger, and a Friday fish fry.
To wash it all down, patrons can select from 18 beers.
"We feature many seasonal and hard-to-get craft beers. It's always different because we're always keeping it lively," Fintel says.
Since the pub opened, Fintel also added fresh custard into the mix. Cones and shakes will be available through the carryout window this summer.
Better yet, the restaurant's 2-acre yard has picnic tables, a volleyball court and horseshoe pit for customers' enjoyment.
The best part for Fintel? "I love meeting new people and - maybe this sounds cliche - but when someone has a meal that they rave about, it gives me so much joy," she says.
Beef short rib tacos
1 cup cooked beef short ribs, shredded
1/4 cup pico de gallo (See recipe below)
1/4 cup salsa verde
Queso fresco to taste
Shred short rib and layer 1 cup on two warm flour tortillas. Top with pico de gallo, salsa verde, and queso fresco. Top with a fresh avocado slice.
Pico de gallo ingredients
1/2 red onion, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
2 jalapenos, finely diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and toss.