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The Little Village Cafe Is Bringing San Francisco's Little Italy to Wisconsin

By Elisha Neubauer

James Dickey, owner of The Little Village Café, is no stranger to the restaurant industry.

Prior to launching The Little Village Café, which is located in Baraboo, Wisconsin, Dickey was the owner of a small eatery located in downtown Madison from 1989-1999. The Little Village Café opened in 1995 and is still currently operating under Dickey's hand today.

Dickey took his inspiration from a restaurant he once worked in while living in a north beach neighborhood of San Francisco, which was referred to as Little Italy. The establishment was owned by the Scarpula family and was called Little Village. Dickey was enamored with the vibe the restaurant portrayed.

"When my Wife Christine, our daughter Megan, and myself moved to Madison, we wanted to open a small café with the same atmosphere as the Scarpula family," Dickey said.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is a vital component in The Little Village Café's success. Dickey has made to sure to focus on every aspect that would affect the overall ambiance. He ensures that each and every meal is interestingly and consistently well-prepared and that his wait-staff is friendly and attentive to every customer that walks through the door.

"The Little Village stands out, I believe, because of the overall experience we try to bring our customers," Dickey said.

Wanting to promote a comfortable, cozy environment for patrons, Dickey took a unique approach to the décor of the establishment?focusing on a nostalgic and authentic appeal. The appearance of the restaurant, paired with the friendly and welcoming staff, makes you feel relaxed and comfortable regardless if you are the only diner or if you are one many.

This focus on atmosphere has not gone unnoticed. The Little Village Café has been voted Restaurant of the Month in 2002 by Discover Wisconsin, Best Hometown Diner in 1997 by Wisconsin Trails Magazine, and Madison's Favorite Lunch Spot in both 1993 and 1994 by the ISTHMUS Reader Poll.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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