What do you get when you combine the kringle and pastry of O&H Bakery with a restaurant delivering quality pizza and pasta?
You get The Dish, 9540 S. 27th St.
The newly-opened restaurant is in a building that had been vacant since 2005, on the corner of Ryan Road and 27th Street. The Dish owner Jim Willkomm was familiar with the building, having worked in the petroleum business and delivered to the next-door Mobil gas station, 9510 S. 27th St., plenty of times.
"I hauled to this location so I was very familiar with it and I just thought it was a shame that they left this building vacant for so long," he said.
After Willkomm bought it last June, he contacted his high school friend and current Dish chef, Val Secor, who within days had an entire vision for the place.
The menu includes pizza, pasta, soups, salads and sandwiches. The concept, Willkomm said, is quality food that's prepared quickly, which helps the restaurant utilize its drive-through.
"We don't want to consider ourselves fast food, because we think that cheapens it, but we want to consider it 'food that’s fast,'" Willkomm said. "You can get a pasta dinner or a panini in four minutes and take it home to the family.
"People get tired of burgers and fries. After awhile you just can't take it anymore."
Bringing O&H on board wasn't difficult. The Willkomms had a previous relationship with the company having partnered at Willkomm's Petro gas station on Highway 20 in Sturtevant.
It didn't take much convincing for O&H to get involved, Willkomm said.
"With this opportunity, we approached them and they said, 'We're in. We'd love to be up in the Oak Creek area,'" he said. "They were gung-ho."
Willkomm said business is split pretty evenly between the O&H bakery and The Dish. O&H is the most popular part in the breakfast hours, while The Dish is the hotspot during lunch. Even though the restaurant has only been open two months, seating can be hard to find during lunch, Willkomm said.
The Dish held a grand opening last week featuring elected officials and other South Suburban Chamber of Commerce members.
Business has started strong, despite no advertising, Willkomm said. He's hopeful that residents will find their way over to a restaurant in an area that may be under-served compared to the middle of Oak Creek.
"It just doesn't seem as well developed as when you go on Howell and you see there's a new restaurant every five feet," Willkomm said. "We thought, you know what, let's bring something to this side that we can be proud of."