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During tough financial times, local restaurant finds ways to give back

Posted at 6:32 AM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 11:27:28-04

MILWAUKEE — When you step inside Emerald City Catering you feel like you walked into Oz. The walls are decorated with pictures from the popular movie, Wizard of Oz and the man behind the curtain is Steven Ozbolt.

Ozbolt moved his business to south side Milwaukee two years ago with a focus on catering events like weddings, funerals, and parties. However, the location that once housed up to 280 people, now, sits empty.

"It's a matter of keeping our head above water and paying the essential things,"said Ozbolt.

The business is taking a financial hit, but, to Ozbolt what's more important than profit is taking care of the community.

"The main thing to me is making sure no one goes hungry," said Ozbolt.

Monday through Friday, they are offering a "Pay As You May" meal. The concept is simple, you pay what you can afford. He hopes this ensures people who have lost their jobs, still have meals to eat.

"I know times are tough for everybody. I know a lot of people are out of work, you can come in, get a meal, pay a compliment if that’s all you can afford. We have had people come by and pay $40 for a chicken dinner and we pay that forward. Anything above the cost of the food we give forward to the next people," said Ozbolt.

Meredith Wittmann stopped by on Tuesday to buy seven meals. She said Emerald City has supported her church so now it's her time to return the favor.

"I don’t want to see so many of the wonderful businesses we have in Milwaukee close and not be able to reopen," said Wittmann.

Ozbolt said taking care of others will always be his bottom line.

"Every storm eventually runs out of rain and the hard thing is to hunker down and realize we are all in this together," said Ozbolt.

Emerald City is also providing free community cold meals to those in need.

Take out is available M-F 11:00 - 7:00 pm. To learn more about the business click here.

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