My fiancé, who works at Lombardino's, let slip to me that cooks at the restaurant have been cultivating their knife collections through Wisconsin Cutlery & Restaurant Supply in the Shorewood Shopping Center.
Curious, I thought I'd check it out for holiday shopping potential. What I found is a jam-packed kitchen store that's a perfect stop for anyone who needs a gift for those who love to cook.
Wisconsin Cutlery is owned by Bill Peterson, who opened the store about a year ago. He had operated a successful restaurant supply store in Chicago and worked for years as a rep for a knife manufacturer. Peterson decided to return to Madison (he'd lived here decades ago) and set up shop. Since opening, he's become a go-to guy for resurrecting dull blades with his giant 36-inch grinding wheel. Peterson charges $3 per knife; while you wait, browse the 10 different lines of restaurant-grade cutlery, including Victorinox, maker of Swiss Army Knives.
The store offers plenty of kitchen essentials. I liked Lodge Logic's efficient 9-inch cast iron skillet ($18). For the mobile college student, there's Cuisinart's handy Quick Prep Hand Blender ($33). And for Food Network junkies, check out Mario Batali's Italian Kitchen line, which includes a five-piece measuring prep bowl set ($10) and the Panini Grill and Press ($86).
With the major carving holidays coming up, those with knives in dire straits can rejoice; Peterson will have extended hours on Thursdays. He's also running a special holiday discount of 10% off Forschner and Messermeister knives. With Penzeys Spices and Vom Fass next door, it's a one-stop route to finding something for your favorite foodie.
Wisconsin Cutlery & Restaurant Supply
3236 B University Ave.
10 am-5 pm Tues.-Fri., 11 am-4 pm Sat., 10 am-6 pm Sun.