MEET OUR TEAM
Maggie Roovers comes to Merchant with extraordinary experience in both the back and front of house. She served as the GM of Fresco from 2019 to 2021. She is a James Beard Award Semifinalist for 2019 Best Chef: Midwest working alongside Chef Jonny Hunter for several years at Forequarter.
Maggie is passionate about local food systems and supporting the local food economy. She got her bachelors degree degree in Community and Environmental Sociology from UW in 2016 where she focused her studies on food distribution systems and food insecurity and she’s made sure to put that education to good use by making responsible purchasing decisions in the restaurants she’s worked in. Maggie said she is ultimately super grateful for the opportunities that restaurants have brought her to develop excellent relationships with local farmers and producers.
Executive Chef Matt Schieble brings the perfect combination of maturity, experience, and professional leadership to bring Merchant to a new level of critical success and sustainability.
With almost 20 years cooking experience working in some of Madison’s best kitchens (Fresco, Osteria Papavero, Harvest) as well as the acclaimed Brindille in Chicago, under Chef Carrie Nahabedian. Merchant provides a perfect stage for Matt. He explains, “The Merchant opportunity is especially appealing to me because of the proximity to the farmers market and the vibrant Capital Square scene as well as the ability to work alongside a management team that has shown me that they are empathetic, knowledgeable, and true professionals. It's nice to be working with like minded individuals in pursuit of creating a dynamic and sustainable culture wrapped in great food.”
Chef Schieble has an intense passion for seasonal, classical cookery that is rooted in time and place. Highlights from the opening menu will include dishes in homage to Merchant’s past including: classic fried cheese curds, hand-cut french fries, a cheese board and charcuterie board featuring best-of local cheeses and meats with accompaniments, the Merchant burger, steak frites, and roasted half-chicken. Matt is also bringing a fresh new raw bar program including: oysters, shrimp cocktail, scallop and salmon crudo, and beef tartare, as well as a new small plate section featuring seasonal vegetables, a seasonal hummus, and a generous bibb salad with shaved market vegetables, green goddess and fried capers. We couldn’t ask for a better duo to build and lead Merchant through this next chapter with an eye towards growth, renewal, family, camaraderie and celebration. Matt summarizes beautifully, “I am happy to be doing what I love, with the person I love, in the town that I love.”