Manager buys Port restaurant from mentor, vows to follow her example
You don’t mess with a favorite recipe.
That appears to be the mantra of Kim Buczek, who on Monday completed the purchase of the Dockside Deli, 218 E. Main St., Port Washington.
Buczek has worked at the popular restaurant for five years, including the last three as manager. She often worked alongside former owner Mary Ann Voigt, who ran the business for 15 years.
Like Voigt before her, Buczek has every intention of being a hands-on owner.
“Mary Ann had reached a point where she was ready to take a little more time and enjoy life and was looking to sell. She became my mentor and groomed me to take over. We have been talking about making this transition for more than two years,” Buczek said.
“I plan on being in the kitchen before 6 every morning. I am ready to dive in and live, sleep and breathe the restaurant life. I know exactly what I am getting into. Running a restaurant is a 24/7 commitment, and it is something I embrace.”
Buczek worked in an office setting for years before she decided to try something different and came to work at the lakefront deli.
“I fell in love with the business, the staff and the customers,” she said. “You have to have a passion for it.”
Buczek said her goal is to keep customers happy, which means not making sweeping changes or skimping on the quality they have come to expect.
“I am looking at a few tweaks to the menu, adding a few specials that are really special, and maybe including some more options for our chicken breast and grilled cheese sandwiches,” she said.
“My hope is to kick things up just a notch.”
What won’t change, she promised, is the restaurant’s commitment to homemade sandwiches, soups and desserts.
Buczek also said Ho Ho bars — a chocolate treat she created that has become a favorite of customers — will be featured more frequently.
Buczek arrived at Dockside Deli the year it expanded, and praised the foresight of that improvement.
“There were times when people would look in the window, see there was a line waiting to be served, and go some place else. We have a lot more room now,” she said.
Buczek also has an appreciation for what makes the business successful.
“It is nice to have people coming in from all over during the summer, but you need loyal customers who keep coming back all year to succeed. We have been blessed with very loyal customers,” she said.
Keeping those customers happy is Buczek’s top priority, but there is another motivation, too.
“Mary Ann has been so good to me. I don’t want to let her down,” Buczek said.
Voigt said selling the restaurant was easier knowing someone who cares about the business would be taking over.
“It is not an easy job, but it is very rewarding to see customers enjoying their meals and keep coming back,” she said.
“It has been a wonderful time … I would have to say it has been one of the best experiences of my life.”
Dockside Deli customers are invited to a thank-you reception for Voigt and a welcome to Buczek from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Schooner Pub, 114 N. Franklin St.
Image Information: KIM BUCZEK (right) has purchased the popular Dockside Deli in downtown Port Washington from Mary Ann Voigt (left). Buczek has worked at the restaurant for five years, including three years as manager. Photo by Bill Schanen IV