BARB LUEPTOW, RESTAURANT CO-OWNER & EMILY PRITZL, EMPLOYEE

Our story begins with a small local café called Wrap It Up, located in Manitowoc Wisconsin, and co-owned by Barb Lueptow and Randy Lueptow. Wrap It Up is a family oriented restaurant, that emphasizes organically and locally grown products. Barb Lueptow envisioned a restaurant that served high quality food and comfort, which is exactly what she and her employee Emily Pritzl provide. We begin with Barb’s story.

As a co-owner of Wrap It Up, my love for cooking and healthy eating began long before I ever knew I would one day have my own restaurant. My history of cooking developed from my family descendants of Hungary. They have introduced me to so many ingredients that I now use in my restaurant today—ingredients that our customers have been noticing they can’t get anywhere else, like our homemade seasonings or heirloom pepper. These special ingredients—my grandfather has brought over from Hungary—create a unique touch to our wraps and paninis that cannot be created anywhere else.

Growing up, my family had a huge garden in our backyard, where we grew and cultivated our own vegetables. My mother was very passionate about eating homegrown food because it was better for you. She was always cooking our meals with vegetables straight from the garden. Growing up eating fresh foods like this has made me love the taste of natural and fresh ingredients. This reflects through Wrap It Up because my husband and I only purchase products from local venders for fresh and healthy organic ingredients. The quality of our products is very important to me, and I want it to reflect through my business in a positive way. I want our customers to appreciate eating fresh and high quality ingredients just as much as I do.

With Wrap It Up being a local restaurant, my husband and I believe in supporting other local vendors as well. We get all of our bread from Natural Ovens, which is a natural baker in Manitowoc and we sell craft beer from local breweries. Being a small, downtown restaurant we care about our customers and creating a local, friendly atmosphere. Wrap It Up is one of the only restaurants left in downtown Manitowoc so our location promotes our business and has become a destination for our customers. This has helped us to acquire many regular customers who support us and consistently experience our service, building close relationships. I find this another important aspect of being a locally owned restaurant in a smaller community. Building relationships with customers creates a more family feel to the restaurant and causes customers to become more frequent.

My love for cooking has translated into a passion for making Wrap It Up a success. With working in the food industry for three years now, I have completed a new goal with my cooking skills, other than just to feed my family good quality food. I am now feeding an entire community with locally grown and organically made food, which are practices that I emphasize and believe create higher quality meals. The most gratifying part of my job are the customers.  Creating a good dining experience for them makes my job feel that much more successful. I also take pride in the improvements my husband and I have made from Wrap It Up’s previous owners. We have not only expanded the hours of the restaurant, but also the menu. Instead of just wraps we also make paninis, breakfast foods, smoothies, and coffee beverages. This variety has also helped improve customer frequency and satisfaction.

Wrap It Up has become a main destination while visiting Manitowoc’s downtown area. I  am proud that it is due to the original recipes and unique menu items my husband and I have created. Customers want to enjoy our delicious food in the company of our friendly service, which is what I believe has made Wrap It Up such a big success.

Emily Pritzl, an employee at Wrap It Up, wanted to work at this restaurant because she believes in supporting local business and had been a regular customer since it opened. 

emilypritzl

I have been an employee at Wrap It Up for eight months now, but over the past three years I have worked between three different restaurants. Wrap It Up has a unique emphasis on food sustainability and eating organically through local growers. I have never seen any other restaurant produce their beliefs on food quality this vigorously, and I think it’s what makes the restaurant so special to the community. Working at Wrap It Up has made me consider owning a local restaurant just like it someday in the future, because I believe in all the food values practiced here that are highlighted to the rest of the community.

My responsibilities at Wrap It Up consist of running the cash register, making coffee drinks, and taking orders for the kitchen. Since I am constantly working at the front of the restaurant, I am the first face customers see walking in. My customer service helps to create the first overall impression of Wrap It Up’s atmosphere. I try to initiate conversations with customers that reach them on a personal level. I want to make the customer feel appreciated and welcomed back anytime.

I feel like it is my job to promote an inviting environment where each customer feels comfortable and good about their experience eating at Wrap It Up. I believe that working in the food industry an important quality to have is patience and good customer service. As an employee I realize I represent the business and can’t risk losing customers and their support. Making Wrap It Up a success has become just as important to me now as it is for Barb and Randy.

With Wrap It Up being a family owned business, work has become a second home to me. Barb and Randy do a great job of creating close bonds with their customers and employees to help us all feel appreciated and welcome. Working here has made me feel closer to the community thanks to the owners. What I believe makes Wrap It Up unique to the community of Manitowoc are the creative combinations of food, like how we turned a cheeseburger into a wrap.

Our customers like how we put our own special touch on the recipes, and they come back because they realize they can’t get these meals anywhere else. Wrap It Up also creates an atmosphere of comfort and familiarity, which makes eating here more enjoyable. Wrap It up is more than just a place to eat; it has become a place to socialize, build friendships, and support the local community. Their food production and service is unique to the community, which is why no other restaurant can duplicate what Wrap It Up has to offer.

— Haley Feller

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