Michelle Duvall, General Manager · Bassett Street Brunch Club
Michelle Duvall's bar and restaurant career started in an alley, and ending up in the gutter was a constant threat. As a high school senior in suburban Milwaukee, Michelle got a job hosting kids' parties at a bowling alley. "I needed some walking-around money, and free bowling was a plus," says Michelle. "A couple of days after I turned 18 a bartender quit unexpectedly, and so began the journey down the road of late nights, loose women, fast cash and cocktails." It was the beginning of 12 years in bartending, with stops in multiple locations. "After the bowling alley, I moved to Madison to attend UW, worked for a catering company bartending weddings, parties and events, and learned how uncomfortable a bow tie is," says Michelle. She spent a year bartending and picking up some pool playing skills at a billiards bar, polished up her one-on-one conversation skills with strangers at a small hotel bar, and then spent multiple years bartending at the now-closed Stadium Sports Bar, where she came to deeply appreciate regular customers. Michelle's bartending journey led her to Food Fight, where she started shift managing and bar managing in 2015 and moved into the role of Assistant General Manager in 2016. Clearly she has found much to like about the bar and restaurant business. "It's quick, it's entertainment, it should make you smile, it's people...it's home," says Michelle. "People who work in restaurants and bars can find humor in anything and rarely is anything shocking." While these things are true of many bars and restaurants, Michelle finds Food Fight to be a unique entity in the business. "I've only been with the company a short time, but I'm impressed with the speed and clarity with which ideas for new restaurant concepts are generated," says Michelle. "It's never boring. There is a sense that no idea is too big or ridiculous to at least bring to the table. There's an open mind to creativity." And that outlook is as refreshing as a strike in the beer frame.