Having never used a combi oven before, La Merenda restaurant was able to decrease cooking times and increase both production and service capacity of their many small plate items by integrating an Alto-Shaam CT PROformance™ Combitherm® into their busy and stressed kitchen.
Named “Best Small Plate” restaurant by OnMilwaukee.com for the fifth year in a row, and one of the top 30 Restaurants in Milwaukee by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, La Merenda is a popular casual tapas bar and restaurant located in Milwaukee’s historic Walker’s Point.
La Merenda is a true tapas restaurant. With plates including slow cooked and braised items from around the world, the kitchen was only ever able to prepare one dish per day out of their one convection oven and range. The small kitchen would struggle to keep up with the wide range of small dishes offered.
The international menu is comprised of a wide variety of sharable small plates ranging from Spanish, to French and even German specialties. With each table ordering an average of five to 10 items to share, an increase in production speed and capacity was needed.
“Before using the combi, we would have to fight for space on the line. Constantly checking the oven to see if items were done was challenging and really slowed us down during prep and service,” said chef and owner Peter Sandroni.
To add to the need for more firepower, the restaurant recently added a beautiful new back patio with plenty of seating for the warmer months. “When we host parties out there, we would need to shut down the whole restaurant. We couldn’t do both,” said Peter.