New sourdough pizza business emerges as Milwaukee's restaurant scene adapts to new normal

NOW: New sourdough pizza business emerges as Milwaukee’s restaurant scene adapts to new normal

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Like many people in the service and hospitality industry, chef Paris Dreibelbis found himself out of work when the pandemic took hold in 2020. He and fellow chef, and Jackie Woods, were both were mainstays in the city’s fine-dining scene which found itself particularly hurt because of their restaurant’s inability to adapt to demand for take-out and delivery.

But from disruption comes innovation, and that’s what the pair were forced to do with their new venture; Brute Pizza.

On CBS 58 Sunday Morning, Kim Shine entered the kitchen of Milwaukee’s newest pizza offering.

We may as well get it out the way, so here you go.

The look and sound of a fresh pizza taken out of the oven.

It was made by the two friends who own this business, a venture actually inspired by a loss.

“I mean opening up a businesses in the middle of a pandemic is kind of, a little bit crazy but it was definitely worth it for me," said Dreibelbis.

Their pizzas don’t take long to make.

It’s actually the Sourdough that ‘needs’ the time – three days – said Dreibelbis.

“We made it as hard as possible, but as delicious as possible," he explained.

About seven months ago, he and his fellow Woods launched Brute Pizza.

You see, Dreibelbis lost his job as a Chef de Cuisine at a fine-dining restaurant in Milwaukee.

Both men say the Coronavirus pandemic turned the restaurant industry on its head.

“I was at Bacchus and the minute COVID started coming our sales went down, customers stopped coming in. And then, I looked at delivery and it was doing phenomenal," said Woods.

The pair have known each other for about five years.

They’d worked together before, and so this seemed the right time to start something new – together.

“Like dine-in, even if it comes back it’s not going to be great for a while. So having the ability to have dine-in and always an option to do delivery, I think is where most restaurants are headed," said Woods.

You may have seen Brute at area farmer’s markets – where the chefs say they also buy most of their ingredients.

But if you’re out looking for them there’s no store front.

Right now, they do pop-ups and deliveries, and they’ve watched as word of their pizzas has spread by mouth and on social media.

“We got lucky because we both suck at promotion. We’re not good at that," said Woods, laughing. "We’re good at cooking. All we have to do is get it into people hands and it’ll start working itself out.”

Admittedly, a pizzeria wasn’t the concept they originally had in mind.

But it’s already sparked good vibes and plans for expansion, including pop-up tasting menus and finding the best spot for their truck.

In a business the pair started without investors, Woods said Brute’s calling card is quality.

And while starting their own busy wasn’t easy, the chefs agree it was the right choice.

“I always had the saying that. I was tired of working for other people’s vacations, I would rather work for my own vacation," said Dreibelbis.

To find out more about Brute Pizza, click here.

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