and Susie Taylor with, from left, nephew Grant
Poenitsch, sons Jimmy and Zach Taylor and nephew
Elliot Poenitsch at Oscar’s in the Town of
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
BROOKFIELD — With five family members of the next
generation having their eyes set on running and expanding
Oscar’s, owners Jim and Susie Taylor are opening a third
location in Franklin.
Working at the Town of Brookfield location Friday
afternoon were Zach and Jimmy Taylor and their cousin
Grant Poenitsch. Elliott Poenitsch took a break from
working at Taylor’s People’s Park in downtown Waukesha
for a visit with the family Friday.
This past week, Jim and Susie Taylor, who met and fell in
love at Oscar’s on Highway 100, got approval for a
21-foot, light-up custard cone sign in front of the Town
of Brookfield location on Highway 18. They plan the same
eye-catching sign for the Highway 100 restaurant and
future Franklin location at 27th and Rawson.
Falling in love over ice cream
Sixteen-year-old Susie was one of the first employees at
Oscar’s on Highway 100 when it opened July 2, 1984. Her
bosses were Jim Taylor and his uncle, Charlie Randa, who
had just launched the business.
It wasn’t until a few years later that Jim and Susie
went on a date to get tacos and proceeded to grow the
business as a married couple.
The Town of Brookfield location was opened in 1992. A few
years later, Jim and his brother Dan decided to open
Milwaukee’s first bar with open seating at 795 N.
Jefferson St. This summer the business, called Taylor’s,
will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Aug. 15 and close
the street for a party.
“Our mind is always going for new ideas,” Susie Taylor
and Susie Taylor recently received approval for a
21-foot, light-up custard cone sign in front of the
Town of Brookfield Oscar’s location on Highway 18.
They plan the same eye-catching sign for the Highway
100 restaurant and future Franklin location at 27th
Rendering courtesy of
restaurants with different atmospheres
While People’s Park and Taylor’s may differ
significantly in their business models from Oscar’s,
Susie Taylor said they all have a unique type of artwork
or decor. A mural of vintage knick-knacks and painted
artwork adorns the walls of People’s Park, while at
Oscar’s in the Town of Brookfield, silhouettes of the
family done by Jim’s brother, Richard, hang on the wall.
The Franklin Oscar’s will have a model railroad set up
in the center of the restaurant.
A family member at every restaurant
Susie Taylor remembers in the early days of the business
working with her mom and later her mother-inlaw Rosie
behind the counter. Rosie still helps with the
“I think people enjoy seeing one of the family
members,” Susie Taylor said.
Knowing there is another generation of family who wants to
run the restaurants, Jim said it means there’s potential
“They know it’s hard work, too, and there’s never a
real day off,” Susie Taylor said, adding that if someone
doesn’t show up to work it’s the owners who fill in.
Jimmy Taylor, who is studying entrepreneurship at the
University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, said he started
helping out at Oscar’s when he was 14, although it was a
part of his life before then.
“I was brought up around custard; I fell in love with
it,” he said.
After spending more than 31 years working in and running
restaurants, Susie Taylor said she’s gotten to watch
customers grow up, as well as employees. Some have gone on
to other jobs but will stop back for a visit, while some
have been with the Taylors for more than 20 years.
“You really see a progression of people in their
lives,” she said.
Jim Taylor said expanding into Franklin was a logical
choice because of the growth occurring near 27th Street
and Rawson Avenue. He added that it’s really because of
the his children and nephews that they are growing the
“It’s especially because our kids said they wanted to
do this,” Susie Taylor said.
The new location should be open by the beginning of June.
Also, Jim Taylor said business has been busier than ever
the past four years. He contributes the increased sales to
the longevity of the restaurants, quality food and
“One day I think my cousins, brother and I will make
more Oscar’s,” Jimmy Taylor said.
As a graduate of UW-Whitewater, Grant Poenitsch said
it’s fun to work with family and to apply the leadership
skills he learned in college and while playing football.
“There’s never a dull moment,” he said of working in
the family business. In fact, Poenitsch said he and his
cousins and brothers are able to communicate without even
speaking because they are so familiar with each other.
Although he would also like to grow the business,
Poenitsch said he is focused on doing the best job now.
Despite being in the position to hand over more
responsibilities to employees, Jim and Susie Taylor still
take a hands-on approach to the restaurants. Susie
recently created two new custard flavors — Funky Monkey
and Mutter Butter. The favorites remain Mint Chip, Butter
Pecan, Strawberry and Rocky Road, she said.
Thursday night, Jim worked in the bar and planned to do so
again Friday night.
In order to maintain the success, Jim Taylor said it’s
important to treat the employees well.
The Taylors have also given back to the community from
sponsoring the jerseys for the Waukesha police versus
firemen basketball game Friday to helping to organize
Friday Night Live this summer.