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Brad Bauer, Managing Partner · Food Fight

Born and raised in Marshfield, Wisconsin, Brad Bauer “never planned on being in the restaurant business.” After earning a degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin, Brad applied at Madison’s legendary Ovens of Brittany to be a server. “For whatever reason I was hired as a line cook with zero experience for five dollars an hour.” A detour to Colorado led to the kitchen at Mesa Verde National Park and a decision to enroll at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. Positions at the Salish Lodge outside of Seattle and the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin followed before a friends chance meeting of Food Fight CEO Monty Schiro led to Brad becoming chef at the Hubbard Avenue Diner in 1999. In the nineteen-plus years since, he has held positions of assistant general manager, general manager, and ultimately, managing partner. “The best part about Food Fight has always been the autonomy we are granted. Of course there are parameters within which we much work, but otherwise the whole group is always open to new ideas, new concepts, and new procedures. It in no way feels like a corporation. It feels more like a bunch of people having fun and working together to make great restaurants.” In addition to the entrepreneurial culture of the organization, Brad appreciates the personality type that is drawn to restaurant work. “You have to be slightly restless and drawn to the frenetic pace of a busy place. You have to enjoy thinking on your feet when all hell breaks loose. If you meet another restaurant person, no matter where, you can rest assured you'll get along.”