Bootsie’s brings home cooking to Waterloo - Republic-Times | News

Bootsie’s brings home cooking to Waterloo

By on July 18, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Pictured are Bootsie’s owners with several of their chefs. From left are Bob Garrett, Stephanie Eschmann, Dave Spalding, Penny Spalding, Jerry Sickmeier, Tasha Sickmeier, Jim Smugala, Rita Smugala, Ryan Waltemate and Lisa Day. (James “Tal” Moss photo)

After months of anxious anticipation, Bootsie’s restaurant, bakery and general store in Waterloo opened to the public on Wednesday. 

The establishment first got approval from the Waterloo City Council in March 2017, but the idea had been gestating in the minds of its owners for years before that.

“It really started as a vision that Dave (Spalding) had,” co-owner Jim Smugala said. “As it all came together, we all kind of chimed in and made it happen to get it where it is.”

The owners – Dave and Penny Spalding, Jerry and Tasha Sickmeier and Jim and Rita Smugala – are friends who also run a business in St. Louis that builds and renovates houses.

After Dave had the idea, he and Penny brought it to their partners, knowing they work well together and complement each other.

“We all thought it would be a good fit for all of us to work together again because we’ve done so well with the other project,” Dave said. “Jim has some restaurant experience. Jerry is in the construction business.”

The Smugalas own pizza restaurants in Missouri; Jerry Sickmeier runs his own construction business.

That diverse expertise has helped as they have prepared the restaurant, which is named for Dave’s grandmother, Lydia Schlesing. Her grandchildren knew Lydia by another name. They called her “Grandma Bootsie” because her name was too difficult for them to pronounce and she had a dog named Bootsie. 

Pictured is the general store section of Bootsie’s, which officially opened this morning. (James “Tal” Moss photos)

Schlesing was a German immigrant who came to the country in 1906 at the age of 4. Her family owned and operated a convenience store in South St. Louis that also sold baked goods. 

Schlesing loved to bake, so when she died she left many recipes behind. 

At the restaurant that bears her nickname, those recipes make up a large portion of the menu. 

Dave originally wanted to open a standalone bakery, but thought it would be more viable to open a bakery, restaurant and general store under one roof…>>> 

Read the rest of this article in the July 18, 2018, issue of the Republic-Times newspaper.

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James Moss