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Stuffs Restaurant Does It Right

By Jake Levin

For nearly a quarter century, Giles Svehlek has embraced smiles.

Each and every morning beginning at 4 a.m., he's prepared for the next customer to walk through the doors of his Reedsburg, Wis. Establishment, always welcoming them in with a wonderful, clean, fresh smile, he said.

Known as "Chef Guy" to patrons, Svehlek set out with his wife, Joyce, to build a great family restaurant. On Nov. 15, 1995, a group of orange-clad deer hunters became the first customers in the wee morning hours as the coffee and stories began to flow throughout Stuff's Restaurant.

Svehlek makes it a priority to not only use the very best ingredients on the menu at Stuff's, but to make it affordable for the loyal fan base he's cultivated as well.

"Clean and fresh are spoken here," Svehlek said. "We figure if our guests work hard to earn their money so that they can go out when they want, we should work equally as hard to supply them with quality and a price that is comfortable to their budget."

Catering is part of Stuff's operation as well, although it almost never came to be. Svehlek recalls a woman who visited in the restaurant in its second year that recognized him, husking him over and asking "you're Chef Guy, aren't you?"

Svehlek replied that he was, and as luck would have it, the woman's sister had had her wedding catered by the man she knew as Chef Guy back in Brookfield.

"We talked and laughed, her about the great time all of the guests had, and me of the fun I had accommodating her family at the beginning of their life together," Svehlek recalled. "So now she says 'my wedding is coming up and you're going to cater it!'"

Humbled and honored, Svehlek had to initially turn down the request, as he no longer possessed the necessary equipment. But the woman wouldn't take 'no' for an answer, and just like that, Svehlek was back in the catering game.

"I had no intention on re-starting a catering business here, but all in all, it is who I am and it is what I do," he said.

It seems as though the decision has added some entertainment value to Svehlek's life as well; the opportunity to cater an event is hardly a burden in his eyes.

"Sometimes I think I have more fun than the parties I cater to," he said.

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