Around the Town with Mayor Steve: Two Local Restaurants with Stories

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Mayor & Council |

I visited two local restaurants in Oak Creek last week, both with a unique, Oak Creek story to tell. One is located on Oakwood Road, in one of the oldest buildings in our city, the other a newer restaurant, located along our lakefront, and soon to be featured on a national TV network. LaSusa’s Restaurant on South 5th Avenue, and the Cellar on Oakwood Road, feature stories filled with local history, great pride in ownership, and in the food they serve.

The Cellar, operated by Bill Nelson and Shirley Miksa, celebrated the 150th anniversary of their building with a dinner featuring Jack Daniels, and a four course meal prepared by Suzanne Schlicht, a chef featured on the television program “Hell’s Kitchen.” Guests were treated to a wonderful dinner, and stories of the incredible history of the building, originally built by the Studer family, which served as a combination saloon, dry goods store, grocery, post office, and dance hall. The dance hall survives to this day, located on the third floor of the current building. Bill and Shirley operate the Cellar out of the lower level of the building, with a menu featuring pizza, fish fries, and daily specials. Until 1915, the building and grounds at 812 E. Oakwood Road hosted a multi-day party and social celebrating the 4th of July, with residents from the towns of Carrollville, Caledonia, and Oakwood gathering for a community picnic featuring home-baked pies, dancing, and fireworks. That tradition continues to this day, as Bill and Shirley host the annual alumni gathering on the Friday of the Oak Creek High School’s Homecoming football game. All Oak Creek High School alumni and friends are invited to attend this year’s version Friday, October 4.

LaSusa’s Restaurant, at 8955 S. 5th Avenue in Oak Creek, is owned by Mike LaSusa and his family, and is an Italian-style restaurant featuring great pizzas, and other authentic pasta dishes. Last week, the Food Network came to Oak Creek to transform the restaurant as part of their popular show, “Restaurant Impossible,” with a reveal taking place last Wednesday night. Invited guests sampled a new menu, and dined in the re-vamped interior of the restaurant. The episode will air this fall on the Food Network. LaSusa’s is located along Oak Creek’s eastern-most city street, and adjacent to the Lake Vista development, which will open up our entire lakefront, closed to the public for more than eighty years. Mike has also agreed to partner with the Mayor’s Fitness Challenge, hosting a social event, and offering some low-calorie menu items to the Challenge participants and his customers. Stop by and check out the new look!

This week celebrates Homecoming at Oak Creek High School, with events scheduled daily throughout the week, and a parade scheduled for 6pm Wednesday on Groveland Avenue, next to Knights Community Stadium. Cheer on the Knights Football team on Friday as they take on Racine Park at 7pm.

Go Knights!

Mayor Steve