Since becoming owners of All American Pizzeria, Bruce and Pat Setterstrom became one of downtown Ely’s main fixtures. The couple, which had been retired prior to purchasing the restaurant, said they were looking for something to fill their time.
“We’d been retired for three years and started to get bored and needed something to do,” Bruce Setterstrom said. “When this came up, I thought, let’s try this. It was hard the first year, we didn’t know what we were doing.”
While the couple saw its business grow as they learned the ins and outs of running a restaurant, things began to change in 2012 when Bruce ran and won a seat on the City Council.
“During the campaign, Robert Sedlacek said he’s retired and had more than enough time to do city business,” Bruce Setterstrom said. “I said if I win the election, I’ll sell the business and I’ll be retired and have more time.”
The Setterstroms sold the business to JaNeal Mathews, who will be holding an event on Nov. 1 to mark the change of ownership.
“The only reason we’re not real upset is because we’re turning it over to someone we know and trust,” Bruce Setterstrom said. “It’s like our baby, but we’re turning it over to someone we know.”
While comfortable with the knowledge of who will be taking over the restaurant, it’s presented a bittersweet situation for the Setterstroms because of the time and effort put in to making the restaurant work.
“I have mixed emotions because I’m tired, but we made such good friends here,” Pat Setterstrom said.
“We’re going to miss a lot of them. We’ve met so many nice people and we’ll miss all the customers.”
For Bruce and Pat, many of their customers became more than just that.
“We became friends with most of our customers,” Bruce Setterstrom said. “And it became a place to talk politics and JaNeal said she’d continue that tradition.”
For Mathews, purchasing All American Pizzeria was a no-brainer and said she hopes to keep the restaurant’s recipes the same while adding to the menu.
“I’m getting a good deal because these guys have built up the business for the last three years and now I just to get to go on with it,” Mathews said. “Everyone’s wondering if I’m going to change the menu. I’m not going to change it. I’m not going to change any of the pizzas, I’m going to add to it and have some specialty pizzas. We’ll be introducing in the future the deep dish and other types.”
All American Pizzeria will also be part of a larger plan for Mathews that will become unveiled during the spring of 2014.
“I have purchased the old Catholic Sacred Heart Chapel,” Mathews said. “I will be taking the business over there in the spring then we’ll go from there and expand even more. The plan is to leave (All American Pizzeria) here and work on the church during the winter. Then we’ll have even more space for events and other things.”
While work is completed at the old Catholic Church, Mathews will be hard at work learning how to keep All American Pizzeria running smoothly. And with the Setterstroms helping to show her the recipes and giving her tips for the future, Mathews said she is looking forward to keeping All American Pizzeria going long into the future and grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m just thankful for Bruce and Pat selling me the restaurant,” Mathews said. “They’ve done the hard work, now I get to profit from that and so does everyone else.”
And as the Setterstroms work to officially pass the torch to Mathews at All American Pizzeria, the Settersroms said there’s one message they’d like all those who supported their business to know.
“We’d like to thank everyone,” Pat Setterstrom said. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without our customers.”