Italian cuisine returns to Waupaca
Magdalene’s to open on July 21
By Robert Cloud
A new Italian restaurant will hold its grand opening on July 21 in King.
Located on County Trunk QQ in King in the former King’s Table, the new restaurant is called Magdalene’s.
Jerry Kallas, the owner, said he originally planned to open a restaurant in the downtown building where St. Mary Magdalene’s Catholic Church was formerly located.
Although he worked with the city for nearly two years to develop the site, Kallas said it would cost about $1 million to renovate the old building.
“That did not seem like a reasonable proposition,” Kallas said.
Kallas, who purchased a farm in the Iola area in the 1970s, said he saw a need for local Italian cuisine.
His team includes two people whose gourmet cooking are familiar to the area: chef Mike Doud and baker Barbara Johnson, who previously worked at the Green Fountain Inn in Waupaca.
Doud was also an owner of Olini’s in Iola and Waupaca.
“We decided to do this venture so we could offer something that the area’s been missing for some time,” Doud said. “We wanted to offer a cultural taste from somewhere else in the world.”
Doud said Magdalene’s goal is to offer as much locally sourced meat and produce as possible.
Among the highlight’s of Magdalene’s menu is the pork pepperonata.
The pork is seared, then grilled, then covered with Magdalene’s pepperonata sauce.
“It’s a slow-roasted Italian relish made with olive oil, herbs, roasted garlic and balsamic,” Doud said, regarding the sauce.
Other entrees include smoked chicken saltimbocca, prosciutto, basil, asparagus with a seared grilled chicken breast smothered in a smoked gouda alfredo sauce or chicken parmigiana.
Magdalene’s specialty pizzas are baked in a brick-fired oven, which holds and resonates the heat, Doud said, affecting both the crust and toppings.
“We will offer traditional Italian desserts, as well as in-house specialties,” Johnson said.
Magdalene’s dessert menu features tiramisu, spumoni cheesecake, cannoli napoleonata, del giorno cheesecakes and Central Waters bourbon chocolate cake.
“We will be continuing the tradition of cinnamon buns,” Johnson said, regarding a long-tie favorite at King’s Table.
Kallas said he purchased the former bank building adjacent to the restaurant in order to provide more room for parties.
The restaurant’s main banquet hall can accommodate up to 100 people, while the three dining rooms located next door can each provide space for groups of about 25 people.
“I see a need in the area for a place that can handle that kind of setting for smaller groups,” Kallas said.
Kallas anticipates a staff of 30 to 40 full-time and part-time employees.
“We have a passion for good food and we’re surrounding ourselves with people who have the same passion,” Doud said.
Doud stressed that the restaurant’s atmosphere is casual, where anybody in the community can feel welcome.
“We can’t wait for your family to be a part of our family,” Doud said.