Rochester Deli, "home of the best Rueben sandwich," has been a family owned, New York-style eatery on West Broadway for nearly 10 years. Now, owners Dan and Laura Strackbein are watching as their eldest daughter go out on her own.
Just a hop, skip and jump from the front door Rochester Deli is the home of a former hair salon that by late August will become Periwinkles Bakery on Broadway. There is, in fact, only a small alley way that separates the two West Broadway addresses.
Daughter Alicia, who started at the deli as a cashier, worked her way up to lead cake decorator and will now be getting her own bakery space. Alicia hopes to offer the same delicious Rochester Deli favorites, and also whole pre-decorated cakes, pies and breakfast pastries.
Alicia said she got her start making cakes with her dad in the family basement.
"I always loved baking but I was more interested in art. I went to college, got a degree in psychology because I always loved people too," Alicia said. "I realized that making cakes is absolutely what I just loved to do. It mixes people and art and cake making, and I get to work with my family so it's a plus all the way around."
A few years ago, when the tenant next door moved out, the family began discussing the possibility of giving Alicia her own space to work.
"We've been exploring this for a while so when the tenant moved out it was like we've got to do this," Laura said.
"We wanted to open that place about three or four years ago when the first tenant moved out but I was only 20 at the time. I was still in school and I wasn't sure if I wanted to do this as a career," Alicia added. "But once I was done with college and had been working in the field for five years, I knew we couldn't miss the opportunity again."
Alicia is excited, not only to move into her own space, but also to be able to provide what loyal customers of the deli have been asking for.
"Periwinkles will have a lot of the same things available for purchase like the cookie bars and cakes but the big difference is that Periwinkles will offer whole cake selections that you can walk in and pick up," Alicia said. "There's been requests for that and we've had such a problem because we don't have enough space. We'll also have whole pies and breakfast pastries which I also don't have enough room to do here."
Alicia currently decorates wedding cakes and is also excited to expand that part of the business.
"Wedding cakes are a huge part of what we do. Right now we can do two, maybe three, cakes a weekend. I can't wait to move and be able to fill more orders," Alicia said.
Alicia said it was a no-brainer to stay close to her family's business, not only for the support but because the deli has managed to be so successful in its location.
"I think that Waukesha is an amazing town and has a lot to offer. People come from all over. You can walk to the shop. It gives the feel of a big town in a small town," Alicia said. "I like being right next to the deli because the deli is such a great business and I'm so glad I can still be a part of it."
Alicia, mom Laura and dad Dan, sat around a large table at the back of the deli sharing smiles and jokes about how Dan may not be able to tickle Alicia while she's working, and Laura won't be able to just yell up the stairs when someone calls. The whole family admits it will be an adjustment and a challenge even, but is excited to be undergoing this new adventure together.
"This is a dream come true. I never thought I'd be able to have my own space. I'm really excited I'll be able to have a career doing something I really truly love," Alicia said. "I'm happy to work with my family and I'm just excited to make them really proud."
It only takes the look on Laura and Dan's face to recognize that they already are.
Periwinkles Bakery on Broadway will open in late August at 139 W. Broadway, Waukesha.
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