Meet Your Good Neighbor Front Porch Series: My Sister’s Kitchen
For eight years, Shelly Nelson was a key employee in a small family restaurant on Parmenter Street that served classic homecooked food.
She cooked. She cleaned. She completed prep work. She served customers.
In this place, Nelson wore every hat and took on every job.
Well, almost every job.
When the restaurant’s owners retired in 2016, Nelson and her sister Karen Grove saw an opportunity.
“I guess the thought of working for ourselves appealed to us,” said Nelson, after closing out a recent shift.
Nelson and Groves grew up in the City of Middleton and had deep experience in the restaurant industry. Nelson said she’s always worked in food service. And so, the sisters made the leap from restaurant employees to restaurant owners.
“We knew what we were getting into,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, but being part of the community was really appealing.”
Groves has stepped away from the restaurant’s daily operation and today Nelson runs the enterprise, assisted by a small staff that helps cook and serve the food.
In addition to popular breakfast items like eggs benedict, scrambles and omelets, the restaurant is delivering comfort food at a time when many really need it. Popular dishes include the homemade specials like pot roast and chicken and dumplings. They also serve delicious homemade pie and soup.
“Everybody has their favorites,” Nelson said. “There are people who come in and I don’t even have to ask them what they are eating.”
The pandemic has presented incredible difficulties for the restaurant industry and My Sister’s Kitchen has worked to navigate the challenges. It’s had to reduce staffing, although Nelson hopes to bring those employees back when the pandemic subsides.
“Restaurants are all in the same boat,” she said. “We are all facing the same struggles.”
Nelson said that employees at her restaurant do whatever needs to be done. She said she comes in at night with her boyfriend to wax the floors.
A number of changes have been put into place to keep the restaurant clean, safe and accommodating. The restaurant has implemented enhanced cleaning procedures and now accepts credit cards to facilitate carryout orders.
Nelson said the support of the community has been fantastic.
“There are people who place orders two or three times a week,” she said.
Nelson said she understands that some aren’t comfortable dining in-person right now but the restaurant is happy to offer carryout service.
“Customers can come to pick their orders up and we’ll carry it outside to them,” she said. “Whatever makes people comfortable, we’re happy to do.”
Nelson said she and her sister once worked together as bartenders but learned owning a business together is an entirely different enterprise.
“Who is right, who is wrong?” Nelson said, laughing. “At the end of the day, we’re always sisters.”
About My Sister’s Kitchen
2225 Parmenter St. ,Middleton, WI 53562
Tuesday-Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 6:30 a.m. to noon