A Flandreau restaurant with a big regional draw has changed hands, keeping local owners and maintaining business as usual.
Danny and Christina Schmidt, under the name DCC Inc., purchased Mad Mary’s Steakhouse, a deal that will be finalized on Feb. 1. With the exception of a few new menu items, the business will remain the same.
“It was just an opportunity that presented itself that we couldn’t pass up,” said Christina Schmidt who was named manager last July. The two say the opportunity is good for their young family, which includes son, Connor, 3.
For Christina, owning the restaurant combines her love of cooking and hospitality.
“I love this business. I love people. I love hosting events as it is,” she said. “For me, it’s just a norm to wait on people and make good food.”
She and Danny plan on both being at the restaurant on weekends and taking turns on weeknights. Mad Mary’s is open seven days a week, starting at 5 p.m.
Christina, 31, never thought she would have an opportunity to own the restaurant she has worked at since she was 19 when she started as a part-time waitress.
Now, she has a personal goal in mind: “To build a future for my little family. That’s all I think about is our future. In 25 years, where we’ll be. I’m super excited.”
The Schmidts bought the business from Randy and Diane Tiedeman, who owned Mad Mary’s for 10 years while their family was growing up and working in the restaurant. The business has kept growing, said Diane Tiedeman, who will continue working at Mad Mary’s as a waitress.
“I know we’re turning it over to very good hands,” she said. “They’re young. They have more energy. They have new ideas. We feel good about it.”
Mad Mary’s started as The Cattleman’s in the early 1990s when the Royal River Casino brought people to Flandreau. The name was changed to Mad Mary’s in 1999.
Many patrons drive two hours to eat at the restaurant, Christina said. All of Mad Mary’s 32 full and part-time employees, including several who have been at the business many years, plan on staying.
“Our prime rib is very well known. People come from all over for the prime rib,” she said. She has plans to add a couple of menu items, including a spinach artichoke dip and rice as a side option. A couple of months ago, she came up with a garlic Parmesan topping for steak.
They also want to incorporate some new specials occasionally. Danny, 33, has smoked meat as a hobby and has been a food vendor at the park so that might be one idea, she said. “Down the road, we could incorporate that as a special.”
Danny, who is a machinist at Raven Industries, said it will be good to have a family business and to work together. “She’s really good at what she does here,” he said of his wife.
The two talked to his parents, Jim and Camilla Schmidt, last summer before Danny’s father died in June and found a lot of family support for their plans, they said.
“We had his blessing, which is huge for us,” Christina said.
She plans to approach the new business as a team with the employees. “Everybody’s role plays a part in a successful business.”
As she looks around the restaurant’s dining room, working to make sure customers are happy, she knows there is room to grow personally and as a business.
“I never dreamt I would be presented the opportunity to own a business,” she said. “You never know you can do something until you do it.”
Editor’s note: Brenda Wade Schmidt is an aunt of the couple.