Chef Doug Tesar, Simply Coffeehouse
By Inspire(d) • Originally published in the Fall 2012 Inspire(d)
Simply Coffeehouse and Eatery in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, is right at home in the charming downtown Blackhawk Avenue area. From the high ceiling interior to the rustic furnishings, Simply is a great place to stop and take a break. Part coffeehouse, part cafe and bakery, owner Doug Tesar’s eatery has become a local favorite and a must-stop for out-of-towners like us (and soon, hopefully, you too).
They serve up an ever-changing breakfast menu, and for lunch, offer homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches – seriously – as big as your head! From Simply grilled cheese on housemade bread to the Kick-N-Roast Beef made with their own roasted meat, the options are seemingly endless. Always suckers for chicken salad, we gave Simply’s a try – it certainly did not disappoint. It was – simply put (haha) – delightful: a wonderful made-from-scratch mixture of sweet, crunch, and salt that complimented the chunky chicken perfectly (that’s only half the sandwich pictured below!). We suggest you also try their chocolate frappe, plus the cookies, bars, and cupcakes are killer, too, and often sell out by noon! So get there early, curl up with a coffee in a street-front window or with a magazine (may we suggest Inspire(d)?) by the giant aquarium where the “pet” (and giant) fish swims happily every day, and enjoy some time for yourself. Or stop by for an early morning coffee before hitting the river and grab lunch to take for a picnic in the park – it’s simple!
Name & Age: Doug Tesar, 41
Restaurant: Simply Coffeehouse and Eatery
Number of Years Cooking: 25!
Formal Training or Live and learn?
Live and Learn… From short order cook, to sous chef, and somewhere in there a food and beverage purchasing agent. I’m now owner and operator of my own restaurant!
What’s your most significant memory of cooking?
I would say my earliest (professional) memory was cooking stir fry and broiled tilapia for Bill Clinton and his campaign staff. Recently, it would be an auction for the hospital to raise money for their hospice program. I and my superstar helper, Carly, were auctioned off to cook and serve a group of 6 to 8 people in their home for $3,400! (What to make right? Haha!)
Why did you decide to become a chef?
I really didn’t decide, I just started off on dishes and kept on rolling – before I knew it, I was getting moved up in positions, making money, and just really enjoyed doing it.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever made?
Sea Bass with a mustard and balsamic crust.
Do you have any monumental food fails you’d like to share with us?
Sauerbraten with an 18 pound prime rib!
How about secret food indulgences you don’t normally talk about? Will you tell us?
Cheap hot dogs, peanut butter on a spoon, and mac and cheese without the butter and milk.
What’s your favorite…
Ingredient: Course salt and pepper
Dish: Broiled Scallops
Cooking Tool: Rubber spatula