Brighton Couple Revamp Restaurant Interior and Menu [With Recipes]
Dan and Lisa Schifko run Memories Restaurant in Brighton Township.
Lisa Schifko has taken her 30 years’ experience in the food business, and, along with her husband, Dan, has changed things up at Memories Restaurant & Lounge, a long-established Brighton Township tradition.
Dan graduated from Hartland High School in 1979; Lisa is a 1979 graduate of Livonia Stevenson. The 50-year-old couple met in seventh grade and met up again after high school at Saratoga Trunk, a former Novi restaurant her uncle, Pete Phillips, owned.
The Brighton Township couple has five adult children: Gary Rollin, 32 (Lisa’s stepson); 25-year-old Angela, an Eastern Michigan University graduate; Danny, 23, who attends Cleary University in Howell; 21-year-old Mike, who attends Washtenaw Community College and Jenny, 20, who also goes to WCC.
It’s about three years since the Schifkos took over Memories and revamped its interior, which not only got much-needed code updates but also included some tender loving care as well as even more decorative items in the bar area.
Dan heads up the business office, a big change from his previous work in the construction industry.
Lisa, who serves as the "face of the front of the house" as well as the kitchen, tweaked the menu to include classic American food and even some healthy fare.
She said Memories’ new menu as classic American food, with an emphasis on freshness.
“Everything that we open and feature, we try to sell within two days.
“I like to bake; I make a lot of the desserts here,” she added. The biscuits, pizza dough and soups are all made at the restaurant.
The menu rotates 25 different soup recipes. In addition, all sauces are made to order. The restaurant also provides freshly-fried tortilla chips to go with salsa.
A graduate of the one-year Schoolcraft College culinary arts program, Lisa continuously updates her knowledge of cooking through additional classes there, often taking them with her mom, Vicki Roberts, to encourage new ideas and development of new recipes.
Why Schoolcraft? “There are only 65 master chefs in this country and two of them are [teaching] at Schoolcraft,” explained Lisa.
She’s acquired a quality education there, although her continuing education courses tend to be a bit eclectic. “I pick and choose the things I’m interested in.”
Just in time for fall, here are two of Memories' recipes, both of which are popular with customers: Breakfast Pizza, often ordered even in the wee hours of the morning, and Loaded Baked Potato Soup.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Makes 20 8-ounce servings
1 cup butter
1 cup flour
12 cups chicken stock, made from stock concentrate powder and 12 cups water
2 tablespoons dried chives or 5-6 fresh “blades” of chives, chopped
½ cup cooked chopped bacon, warmed in a pan and blotted free of grease
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 medium baked potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice
½ cup sour cream
- Make roux: Melt one cup butter (but cut it into small chunks first so it melts more quickly) in a very large stockpot. Simmer over low heat, or a “slow bubble.” Make sure to mix in flour thoroughly with a whisk, stirring as needed. The flour will blend in and the mixture will appear drier. It should smell nutty, not like flour, and have a slight golden tinge to it. (This entire process takes 10-15 minutes.)
- Meanwhile, in another large stockpot, bring 12 cups water to a boil; mix in chicken stock mix until it’s thoroughly dissolved.
- Mix chicken stock into finished roux, a little at a time, enough that it still thickly coats a spoon.
- Add chives; stir.
- Add cheese, and stir until it’s melted and incorporated into the soup.
- Stir in sour cream, potatoes and bacon one at a time; keep stirring thoroughly until each ingredient is blended completely into the soup and it's warmed all the way through again. If the soup becomes too thick, add a little more chicken stock.
- Leave soup on low heat until it’s served; stir occasionally.
Note: If having an open house-style party, you may transfer the soup to a slow cooker and keep the soup warm on the “low” setting.
Breakfast Quiche Pizza
Makes one pizza (8 small slices)
(This is a perfect dish to make as part of a Sunday brunch, so small slices are suggested.)
What you need:
8 ounces of your favorite pizza dough (homemade dough is strongly recommended)
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
6 ounces shredded mozzarella and provolone mix
¼ cup diced ham
¼ cup bacon, cooked and chopped (usually 1 strip of bacon is about 1 ounce)
1-2 tablespoons half and half
- Shape pizza dough to fit over a round pizza pan (the kind with a metal mesh bottom is what she used) to desired thinness. Trim excess dough around edges.
- In a bowl, mix other ingredients together (start with one tablespoon half and half, add a second tablespoon if necessary). The mixture should be moistened thoroughly but not overly wet; otherwise, it will be too gooey.
- Spread mixture over the pizza, leaving a small amount of crust uncovered.
- Bake at 400 degrees F. in a conventional home oven for 7 to 8 minutes, checking visually to make sure the crust doesn’t brown too much. (Memories’ conveyor oven cooks it at 440 degrees F. for six minutes.)