Today we’d like to introduce you to Thomas Ulrich.
Thomas, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
We started in 1991 in Maple park Il. We are a butcher shop and lunch/ dinner place and catering. We still make all our own Bratwurst about 20 different kinds everything from plain to garlic and onion, cheddar jalapeno, pepper jack and jalapenos, sourer kraut brats, skittle brats yes skittle candy mixed into our bratwurst. Also, a very popular brat is our new brat philly cheese steak Bratwurst, made with ground chuck and smoked provolone cheese. We still make all our own salads not a lot of caterers do now days they are just stuff out of the box. Our 2 top salads that we make are steakhouse potato salad.
Red skin potatoes, chives, bacon shredded cheddar done in a ranch dressing witch we also make, another very popular salad is our snickerdoodle salad… Granny smith apples, crushed pineapple, pineapple tidbits with chopped up snicker candy bars tossed in whipping cream with marshmallows added in. It’s like a dessert rather than a salad. We grill all our sandwiches outside on charcoal grill, and we only use 100% natural charcoal.
We also use our rotisserie grill for our Italian beef and slowly grilled prime rib, turkeys at thanksgiving time. We also do smoked beef briskets and smoke prime rib sandwiches.
If you look up on YouTube victory chicken you will see that we won the victory chicken wars in Chicago on 670am the score. We cater to companies and also weddings family reunions also class reunions n festivals, drive thru dinners. Where ever they are people we are there to feed them.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No we had 2 stores going but around 2006 the economy slowed down, they stopped building house, companies were laying people off there were not more company picnics, store were closing. Around 2008 we closed 1 store and stayed in sycamore where I’m from and there are a lot more people in Sycamore than Maple Park. At that time, we were not making a lot but we still ate very well being a butcher shop you never run out of meat, or food. Now every week end we have 1 to 3 weddings, or company picnics and also festivals. Things are better than ever.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Sycamore Country Store & Catering – what should we know?
We can feed very large crowds of people at one time. We have cooked 4800 of our famous seasoned boneless butterfly pork chop sandwiches. We design our grills. On a large grill, it takes 60lbs just to get it started. We specialize in making all of our own sausages and salads and desserts. We are not out of the box caterer. Everything is made in house. We are known for are great food, we caterer to 3 different counties’ around Dekalb Co. And are very well known in all. We serve big groups as well as small parties.
Most we cooked for at one time was 4800 people, but most are parties between 1500 to 50. We can do three weddings on a Saturday there maybe 150 people at 1 wedding and 250 at the other 1. We will also have people picking up their catering orders to serve themselves. What set us apart from the other caterers is that, we always have plenty of food and never run out. We live in god’s country and people like to eat and they also like there beer, if you don’t run out of either one the party will go very well. Like I said before we still make everything from our bratwurst to all our salads to the dessert, and also cutting all our own steaks and chops. We cut a lot of meat for the lions’ clubs and the Kiwanis clubs, churches.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Taking care of the customers. Giving them what they want. Best quality products. We buy only quality meats and cheeses, spices and produce. To many companies buy cheap stuff and think it is good, not with us, we would rather pay more for better quality products than buying cheap stuff.
- Address: 456 N Main Street, Sycamore, IL 60178
- Website: countrystorecatering.com
- Phone: 815-899-2333
- Facebook: Country Store and Catering Sycamore