When it comes to fun, new restaurants Moraine Park alumna, Allison Gossman, has topped the list. Allison is one of the masterminds behind Fond du Lac’s deliciously unique restaurant, The Sweet & Salty Pig.
As a 2004 graduate of Moraine Park’s culinary program, she is no stranger to the inner workings of the food business. Allison spent 13 years working as a cook at local eateries, a large majority of that time at Backyard Grill & Bar.
Just how did The Sweet & Salty Pig come to be? After her father, a believer in Allison’s talents and drive passed away from an aggressive form of kidney cancer, she decided to join forces with her good friend Janis (also a Backyard employee) and tackle the challenge of restaurant ownership. Together they embraced the opportunity and began brainstorming ideas for a new restaurant.
“I have always loved baking, I knew I wanted to incorporate baked goods somehow, that’s where the ‘sweet’ comes in,” said Allison. “As we were developing the rest of the menu, we noticed that there was a lot of bacon and pork incorporated in our ideas, and that is how The Sweet & Salty Pig was born.”
And, who doesn’t love bacon?
The Sweet & Salty Pig officially opened its doors on February 28, 2018, and when I walked in the doors on May 23 at 2:00 p.m. to meet with Allison, there were very few empty tables.
“It’s been going great,” said Allison.
Not only did it look like it was going great- it smelled like it was going great!
Allison speaks fondly of her time at Moraine Park, her instructors, and everything that she has learned along the way. Her advice to those interested in pursuing a culinary career?
“Have an open mind of where your degree can take you,” she said. “I thought I wanted to be a full-time baker, but after trying new things, I learned that I loved all areas. Have an open mind and don’t limit yourself.”
The fully-stocked bakery case is proof that the “sweet” is a huge part of the business model. She does get the opportunity to bake now and then, but with her other responsibilities, she is learning to delegate tasks as needed.
“I recently hired a baker and she is amazing,” Allison said. “Everything from the waffles, biscuits, and croissants, to the desserts, are all hand-made from scratch, and they’re delicious.”
So, what’s next?
An open house, debuting a new, expanded menu! Allison states that they did a soft launch and then an official open, but never did a ‘grand opening’ event. The open house will take place on June 2, and the new menu will debut some customer requests, as well as new unique items.
As for further down the road, she has her eye on big plans for her sweet & salty business.
“My first step is to incorporate some outdoor seating. I’m working on plans for that now,” said Allison. “Further down the road, I’d love to look into expanding altogether.”
And, just what is her favorite part of owning this unique haven?
“I love coming up with neat ideas to incorporate into the menu, and sampling the creations,” she said.
You can plan to see her at the Fond du Lac farmers markets this summer, looking for fresh produce to use on her menu items, which she plans to update frequently.
“People like to try new food, and I like to make new food!” she said.
And, as if she isn’t busy enough, Allison is also working towards earning her Bachelor’s degree, raising her 8-year old son, and planning a wedding for some time in the future, date TBD.
It’s very evident that she is enjoying her time as a new business owner and grateful for her Moraine Park education and the community support. However, she is also proud to have built a living legacy for her Dad.
“He rode his bike everywhere, which is why I have bike décor, it’s a small reminder of him,” said Allison. “He would have loved this place.”
The next time you stop in, look around and you’ll find lots of treasures, mementos, and items honoring their “sweet & salty” roots.
And one more tidbit for current students or recent graduates, Allison is hiring! She is in need of line cooks, and currently has 2 Moraine Park graduates on staff! She is truly an alumna who sees the value in Moraine Park’s culinary education, and we are proud to have been a part of her journey!
To learn more about the Sweet & Salty Pig, visit sweetnsaltypig.com.
Are you a Moraine Park Alumni? Interested in sharing your story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Moraine Park programs, visit morainepark.edu/programs.