By: Dean Bossenbroek
We Sconnies like to talk about our preferred words for things that folks in other parts of the state call something else. You know, a public water dispenser is either a drinking fountain or a bubbler; a soft drink is either a pop or a soda (or a coke, if you’re a transplanted Texan); a long piece of living room furniture is a sofa or a couch or a davenport; the thing you rest your feet on while watching TV is a footstool or an ottoman or a hassock. It’s a fun conversation, because there are different ways to accurately describe the same thing. Last week’s (July 17) Thinking Outside the Big Box Tour Co-Guide, Sergio Velazquez, busted out this topic on the van ride toward the end group.
Which begs the question, is accurate to call one youth a group?
I would say not. With Sergio and me in the mix, however, we made three. Some people call three a crowd. I’m going to call it a group.
The one youth, who attended, was Jesse W., a new Intensive Supervision Program client. At first he was a bit bemused by the singularity of his youthful presence in this so called group. He quickly adjusted saying, “I guess we’re going to get to know each other pretty well.”
When he said that, Sergio and I nodded at each other, and agreed aloud to Jesse. We went through the basic premises, rules, expectations, and benefits of the Thinking Outside the Big Box Tour. Jesse was a willing participant in all conversations. Our destination for the day was Stalzy’s Deli on Atwood Avenue. During the van ride over, Sergio brought up precursors to the soda-or-pop conversation by asking Jesse and me, “What three foods can you not live without?” and “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?”
Jesse replied, that a weird thing he once ate was shark. He said it was pretty good. I decided squirrel was my weird dish. Sergio looked at me, “Squirrel, huh? What’d that taste like? Chicken?”
I thought about it for a moment, “No, it tasted like raccoon.”
Sergio identified sheep intestines and cow tongue as weird things he’d eaten.
Jesse piped up from the middle seat of the 12-passenger van I had reserved for a group of kids, “Wow. And I thought shark was weird.”
When we arrived at Stalzy’s, co-owner Corbin Reynolds was ready for us. He gave us a rundown on Stalzy’s ever burgeoning bread production, and how that part of the business has been robust enough to create space challenges in the bakery. Jesse asked thoughtful questions, and engaged with Corbin in meaningful, business-based conversation – another sign that he will be a positive addition to the Tour. In particular Jesse wanted to know how long it took from the time Corbin and Neil “Stalzy” Stahlboerger hatched their business idea for it actually to become a reality. Jesse figured it probably took more than a year. Corbin informed us they got everything together fairly quickly and made it happen in about eight months.
After chatting in the front of the house, we visited Neil in the bakery. Neil was busy rolling out dough for unplanned orders from other restaurants and stores, where Stalzy’s bread is sold. We then walked through the kitchen and glimpsed what it’s like to be part of a bustling team. Then we went back out front and ordered ourselves some food. Sergio, on a roll for conversation starters asked us what our first jobs were. Jesse has already worked a few jobs at his young age starting with a job a Pizza Hut. My answer was Gino’s on State Street. I told some Gino Gargano stories, including the spilled liquid margarine tale. Sergio’s first job was as a member of Team Scoopie at Culver’s Frozen Custard.
As Jesse was enjoying his BLT and marveling at the abundance of house smoked, thickly sliced bacon, I asked him what he thought of the Thinking Outside the Big Box Tour group. He said he hadn’t known what to expect, and figured he would be doing community service. He was pleasantly surprised that he found himself eating a great sandwich with two adults he didn’t mind being around. The one thing he didn’t like was his soda – a Sprecher Door County Cherry Cola. For his taste, it is too . . . cherry. He tried, but he ended up not finishing it, proving there is no accounting for taste, because, in my opinion, Sprecher makes the best Cherry Cola.
We dropped Jesse off at home around 3:30pm.
The next stop on the Thinking Outside the Big Box Tour is Jamerica, where owner/operator Martin Deacon will tell us about his experience as a fixture on Willy Street for the last 25 years.
Thanks for reading. Eat some local food this week!