National Bakery & Deli comes to Brookfield
Newest location doing well in former V. Richards storefront

By Cara Spoto - Freeman Staff

Dec. 15, 2017

 Manager Dawn Pethke selects a stollen for an eager customer at National Bakery & Deli, 17165 Bluemound Road. The Miwaukee-area chain opened the Brookfield location, its fourth, in October.
Cara Spoto/Freeman Staff

BROOKFIELD — It’s a busy weekday morning at The Plaza shopping center in Brookfield.

People buzz about running errands, but inside National Bakery & Deli, 17165 West Bluemound Road, customers are taking their time — studying the array of choices, from savory sandwiches and loaves of fresh bread to cookies and tart Cherry Nests gilded in frosting.

The fourth location for the popular Milwaukee-area chain, the bakery opened its doors in October and has been attracting customers new and old since then.

With their flagship operation at 3020 S. 16th in Milwaukee, and locations in New Berlin and Greendale, business partners Jeff Callen and Bryant Kraus decided to open shop in Brookfield after the storefront, which long housed V. Richards Bakery, became available.

“We have customers in Waukesha, Pewaukee and Menomonee Falls, and our name recognition was already good, so we thought it would be good to tap into another market in Brookfield,” Callen explained.

 Self-described “donut diva,” Lisa Pollack talks to a co-worker at National Bakery & Deli.
Cara Spoto/Freeman Staff

“With all the businesses in the area we’ve had a lot of people coming in for deli trays,” he added. “Our lunch business has been really good.”

That was certainly true last Friday as more than a few customers came in looking to grab a bite to eat, or use their lunch hour to pick up a few treats — like a German stollen — for visiting relatives.

Kyler Volke, a Jehovah’s Witness doing missionary work in the area, said he had been there more than a dozen times already.

Dawn Pethke, a longtime manager with the company who’s often put in charge of new stores, said business has been steady since the store opened.

Founded in 1925 by Louis Wisniewski, National Bakery & Deli became a chain in 1996 when it opened its second store in New Berlin.

 Manager Dawn Pethke pulls a donut from a display case at National Bakery & Deli.
Cara Spoto/Freeman Staff

Callen and Kraus bought the business about nine years ago, opening the third location in Greendale in 2009, and now the Brookfield store. Callen typically begins his days at 5:30 a.m. at the Milwaukee store, visiting the other locations throughout the day.

The bakery is famous for its Paczki and pecan fingers, and right now they are busy making Christmas cookies and other pastries, from frosted snowmen to stollen, rum balls, and pfeffernusse spice cookies.

“Everyday is different, which is pretty neat,” Callen said. “There’s lot of planning.”