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Danielle Schmitz, Daniel's Restaurant and Northwood's Lounge-

Coming back to a good thing!

Danielle Schmitz is the second generation of Daniel's Restaurant and Northwood's Lounge. In 1977 Danielle's father, Dan Gadient, purchased the Boston Cafe located on ­Main Street Kasson next to the Mini Mall. In 2001 Daniel's moved out to their current location in Daniel's Plaza on south Mantorville Avenue where they continue their tradition of serving homemade goodness.

Danielle literally grew up in the business. A large part of the Daniel's business is selling fish and chips along with other offerings at area fairs and community celebrations. She has fond childhood memories of attending these events which for Danielle and older sisters Katie and Natalie were a blend of work and play while growing up. Filling the tartar sauce cups was followed by a ride on the Tilt-a-whirl. She even met one of her best friends during this time period. This girl's family owned a shaved ice business and she and Danielle built their friendship during time spent at various summer events. Their families became friends as well sharing many experiences both business and personal.

Danielle graduated from Kasson-Mantorville High School in 2001 and attended school at North Park University in Chicago. Feeling like North Park was not the right fit, Danielle transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Stout, enrolling in their Restaurant and Tourism Management program. Having worked at Daniel’s practically her whole life, the program felt somewhat redundant after having had her dad as a real-life teacher in the restaurant business. She then enrolled at Rochester Community and Technical College, lived in Rochester and worked at the Outback Steakhouse, time Danielle says was well spent. "I did the typical college student thing living and working in Rochester. It was very good experience for me to work at a different restaurant. I learned a lot", Danielle shares reflecting on that time period. She was still a bit ambivalent about her career path. Her "shaved ice friend" had moved to Colorado to attend school and Danielle decided to move there as well. She only lived in Boulder for a month and a half but it was enough time for Danielle to realize she wanted to come back to Minnesota and work at Daniel's. "It seems silly but it was just the path I needed to take to realize I did want to return", Danielle says a bit sheepishly. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and now Danielle knew her decision.

One year after returning Danielle was engaged to Matt Schmitz who she had met at church while in high school. Four months later the two were married in 2007 and are now the parents of two sons, Henry age 2, and Owen, six months old. Matt is the owner of Matthews Construction and grew up in Wasioja.

Danielle's working days are now filled with baking breads and desserts along with the needed tasks to manage a restaurant. Her goal is to be successful in balancing the demands of a family and a business. She strives to create a place where people will want to both eat and work. "My dad and I are alike. We are both pretty relaxed as managers. I wouldn't want to work in a high stress environment and I don't think our employees do either", Danielle says. "I want to create a place where people want to come".

And come they do as Daniel's has a steady supply of loyal customers ordering their long-time favorites from the menu. One thing Danielle would like patrons to know is the emphasis is on homemade at Daniel's whether it be bread, buns, pastries, soup, salad dressings, or desserts, it is all prepared from scratch in the Daniel's kitchen. They offer gluten free menu items as well as low-cal choices with their newly added salads. They know better than to change their core menu, but do keep it fresh with new menu choices.

Changing, and yet staying the same. Danielle is glad her path led her back to the restaurant her parents started before she was born. Back to homemade goodness and a welcoming atmosphere Danielle is happy to help make happen. Stop by on a Friday for their fish special or on a Saturday evening for prime rib or try the Sunday brunch or for that matter any meal, any day of the week. Homemade goodness waiting for you at Daniel's, compliments of Danielle.

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