Greenfield - When diners at the Culver's Restaurant opening Monday, Oct. 3, glance up at the walls, they may see themselves as teenagers looking back at them. Or they might see a football jersey or a band uniform just like they used to wear.
Vincent Busalacchi, who owns the new restaurant with his father Michael Busalacchi, wants to fill the walls with high school memorabilia.
"I wanted more of a community feel, rather than have pictures of burgers on the wall," he said. It seemed like a perfect fit, with Greenfield High School just up the hill from the new Culver's, 6031 W. Layton Ave., Busalacchi said. "I think it's cool."
The folks at Greenfield High School think so, too. Last week they busily rustled up yearbook photos, a band uniform and even a letterman's sweater. They also donated some trophies so that they can be admired by everyone, not just visitors to the high school.
"We wanted team photos and old yearbook photos showing different activities and clubs," said Cheryl Sanders, director of communications and marketing for the Greenfield School District. "Sometimes you go to places and it's all athletics. We want it to be more than that."
Culver's also is collecting memorabilia from Greendale High School.
"Greendale is our neighborhood community, as well." Busalacchi said. Because Culver's requires its restaurants to have a certain geographical spacing, Greendale is too close to have its own Culver's.
"We're going to be their Culver's," Busalacchi said.
A grand opening will be held at 9 a.m. Oct. 3 with a ribbon cutting and refreshments. The restaurant will open at 10 a.m.
The Greenfield restaurant will be the father and son team's fifth Culver's. They founded their first in Jackson south of West Bend in 2000. Their second on Miller Park Way in West Milwaukee came along n 2004.
Then came two more in Naples, Florida - one in 2014 and the other in 2015.
They were the first Culver's in Florida and Floridians hardly knew what to make of the Wisconsin favorite cheese curds.
"They'd never had anything like it," Busalacchi said. They eyed it wondering if they were cheese curls or maybe cheese balls, and Busalacchi would tell them, "I don't want to explain it, just try it." They did and not surprisingly they ended up adopting a little bit of Wisconsin, he said.
Amazingly, the father-son team never planned to expand they way they have.
"Jackson did well and a lot of employees (on the management team) wanted opportunity," Busalacchi said.
Striking out into entrepreneurship came after his Michael Busalacchi had worked for years in Culver's corporate structure. Vincent Busalacchi had studied culinary management for two years at Waukesha County Technical College.
The Greenfield Culver's will be different from any of the others in that it is the first Culver's in Wisconsin to have solar panels, Busalacchi said. The panels will help heat water and are expected to supply 10 percent of the restaurant's power.
However like other Culver's, Busalacchi expects the Greenfield restaurant to have a lot to do with young people.
"Culver's tends to be a place for high school kids to hang out, and we'll have specials to cater to them," he said. Eventually, those will include late night specials for after games, he said. There isn't a big hurry on that, just like there isn't a huge hurry to get all the memorabilia up, he said. It will go up little by little.
"And with the school right next door, we will work with them doing fundraisers and sponsoring things," Busalacchi said. Even this weekend when Culver's has a VIP opening to work out any kinks, donations will be made to help the Greendale marching band go to New York City to be in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
"We do stuff like that for the community," Busalacchi said.
Married and the father of two children, ages 5 and 3, Busalacchi said he looked at other occupations but kept coming back to restaurant work.
"I enjoy all the guests and the employees and there's always something going on. And, I enjoy working with food," he said.
That started at a very young age. On frequent family camping trips, Busalacchi was the breakfast chef. Even though he was only 11 or 12, he poured it on, making pancakes, an omelette scramble of leftovers from the night before, toast, bacon and sausage, for his mom, dad and older sister.