Photo by: JEFFREY ZAMPANTI Ann Morelli, owner of Morelli's Deli, is offering its popular Italian beef sandwich at a discounted price for Restaurant Week.

Kenosha’s Restaurant Week a warm welcome for small businesses

Annual event features a record 63 Kenosha restaurants

KENOSHA, Wis. — When customers walk into Morelli’s Deli, owner Ann Morelli typically starts prepping their food before they even order it.

“We know 90 percent of our customers,” Morelli said. “We’ve seen children since they were in the womb.”

Morelli and her husband Tom Morelli opened the deli 25 years ago.

They’ve gone through tough times, both personally and professionally, but the one constant are the smiling faces that keep walking through the door.

“We really appreciate the neighborhood,” Morelli said. “The neighborhood has always supported us through our struggles.”

To support small businesses at a time of the year when sales are typically slow, Visit Kenosha introduced Restaurant Week.

The annual, nine-day culinary tour begins Saturday throughout Kenosha County. A record 63 Kenosha businesses plan to offer discounted menu items to bring in customers.

 “Sure, it’s great to dine out in the summer when you can sit outside and look at the lake and look at flower baskets,” said Laura Gregorski, marketing director at Visit Kenosha. “But restaurants need to survive those winter months too.”

Patrick Metzger of Pleasant Prairie is a regular at Morelli’s. He’s looking forward to the upcoming specials, including a $9.99 Italian beef sandwich with a side of chips and a beverage.

Metzger said he enjoys almost everything on Morelli’s menu.

“I come in here all the time,” Metzger said. “I especially love the coffee. I love the chicken salad. The sandwiches are great. And I love the egg salad sandwiches too and the guacamole.”

For Ann Morelli, it’s customers like Metzger that keep her going.

“Every day I wake up and I’m excited to come here,” Morelli said. “And I almost feel like that more than I used to.”