Little John’s suspending operations amid search for new space, additional funding | Top Stories

Little John’s is temporarily suspending the majority of the organization’s operations as proprietor and chef David Heide and his team look for new ways to support the business.

​COPYRIGHT 2023 BY CHANNEL 3000. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.



MADISON, Wis. — Little John’s is temporarily suspending the majority of the organization’s operations as proprietor and chef David Heide and his team look for new ways to support the business.

Heide said Monday that plans to move into a new location this year have fallen through.

Meanwhile, the organization has to leave its temporary space in Verona by Feb. 10, and it has been hard for Little John’s to find a kitchen space that meets its needs and budget.

“Although there were some wonderful ideas put out there, a lot of them, you know, the landlords wanted $13,000 in rent and just we can’t sustain that while also trying to help the communities we serve,” Heide said.

He also cited food and labor costs as a reason for the closure.

Even though Little John’s uses excess food donated from farms, stores and suppliers, some contracts call for specific orders or colors.

“So we were having to supplement all of it with purchasing ingredients, which meant that our food costs went, you know, through the roof,” Heide said.

Heide and Little John’s have been longstanding supporters of a pay-what-you-can model to make quality meals more affordable for those in need.

RELATED: Restaurateur launches capital campaign to bring pay-what-you-can concept to Madison

On top of working to make food more affordable, Heide and his staff regularly repurposed would-be grocery and restaurant waste for meals.

In a statement, Heide said Little John’s will return once the group gets funding and finds a new space for its operations, he and his staff will return to their original mission.

In the meantime, Heide hopes there will be job opportunities waiting for the veterans Little John’s hires for paid six-month kitchen training.

“If you are an employer looking for an amazing employee, we have some amazing people and we just want to make sure our staff are taken care of,” he said.

Little John’s had been preparing and sending out almost 16,000 meals per week to senior centers, schools and homeless shelters.

​COPYRIGHT 2023 BY CHANNEL 3000. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.

Leave a Comment