WARSAW — Doug Tillotson and Sarah Giron know pizza. Dan Huehn knows gastronomy.
So when the opportunity presented itself, they knew it offered a great opportunity. This led them to create Shenanigans Fine Dining and Gaslight Pizzeria.
The new restaurant combines their respective specialties, whether it’s pizza and calzones or salmon with balsamic glaze and hand-cut steaks.
“The city needed another pizzeria and (Tillotson and Giron) have a great product,” Huehn said. “We also thought we could bring something a little better than a restaurant to the community.”
Tillotson and Giron are tapping into the success of the Wyoming Gaslight Market in the nearby Wyoming village, which has become known for its pizza. Huehn is a long-time and experienced chef who returned to Warsaw in 2019 and ran his own bakery business. They said local businessman Jim Rutkowski brought them together and the idea germinated. They’ve spent the past few months renovating their location at 425 North Main St. before opening last month. The restaurant includes all the dishes a pizzeria traditionally offers — such as subs, chicken wings, and salads — but its food section also offers steaks, salmon, pork chops, and more.
Not to mention the fish fries, which have also proven to be very popular.
Huehn said they are determining which dishes are popular and which customers will enjoy the most. The gourmet menu will grow and expand as they see what people like.
“That’s why we have a small menu for the restaurant right now, so we can train people to see what people want,” Huehn said.
“The pizza side was a no-brainer,” Tillotson said. “It was very good, opening so far.”
Tillotson said the approach is the same as the Wyoming Gaslight Market – responding to a need in the community. He had suggested something a little more like a pizzeria, which would fulfill his and Heuhn’s visions.
“It works really well, because we have a lot of people coming in, and they order steaks and then pizza,” Heuhn said. “It really is a kind of unique place. That’s where we created ‘Shenanigans’, because we have two things that don’t really go together, but we make it work.”
The response has been strong so far, they said. They also offer homemade cakes and pies for desserts, and Heuhn emphasizes making its food from scratch.
“You get a burger, it comes on a homemade bun,” he said. “Little things like that.” “Dan makes his own bread and rolls,” Tillotson added. “We make our own dough and we make our own sauces every day.”
Shenanigans sold out their fish fries the first night they offered them – which is obviously both nice and encouraging.
“We went through five cases again last week,” Heuhn said. “There are a lot of people who make frozen food and we don’t. We bread them and put them in the fryer so it’s traditional. You get better flavor.
The restaurant continues to evolve as it expands its target market.
They plan to add pasta and seafood. They also plan to add a smokehouse for barbecues, and even a food truck or tailer that they could park out front to provide quick lunches outside.
They seek to offer something better and more enjoyable than fast food.
What was the best part? “It’s the completion of this one – both our visions and they come together,” Tillotson said.
“I totally agree,” Huehn said. “To see him come together and build the team and have them all working together, I think it’s fantastic. And just to be able to give people something better… Just keep going. It’s a great location.