Eat, Learn, Teach: Caldo Italian Kitchen runs with SMSU’s own

Hannah Kiges, Variety Editor

There’s a new landmark in town, and Southwest Minnesota State University’s own Professor of Culinology, Kurt Struwe, is the owner.
Over the summer, the Schwan’s-owned Landmark Bistro was scooped up and transformed by Struwe into Caldo, an Italian kitchen-style restaurant complete with deli and bakery.
Last year on campus, the Culinology department opened the doors of a student-run restaurant called Caldo Trattoria, overseen by Struwe, in the Independent Learning building, and operated during spring semester of 2012. The restaurant was open once a week on Wednesday evenings.
“There was a line out the door every night,” Struwe says of the success of the student run restaurant. “We didn’t even do any advertising; it was all word of mouth. We brought what Marshall wanted to town. Good food, affordable prices, and a fun, comfortable atmosphere.”
The student-run restaurant was just a precursor, a beta test to see how well an Italian kitchen style restaurant would work out in Marshall. Struwe, a well-known face among Culinology and Hospitality students, has taken a year off from teaching to attend to his new project.
“It would be impossible to do this and teach. There’s just no time!” He said, “But SMSU realized not only will this benefit the students, but it will really benefit the community. About 90% of our staff is students. It gives them jobs, internships, and important experience.”
This isn’t Struwe’s first restaurant; he ran another in Hollywood before he began teaching.
“It’s important to learn to cook, but you also have to learn business, and serving, and so much more. I mean it takes years to perfect any of it; I try to teach that, and how to achieve it. Caldo is a great tool for that.”
Caldo’s open style is combined with rich cherry wood paneling and divinely comfortable seating, and is decorated with perfect home-style touches like a fireplace and, like all good Italian restaurants, the air is sweet with the smell of fresh olive oil and garlic.
It’s homey but still classy, balanced in a way only a seasoned professional can achieve.  Caldo is located on the corner of Main Street and W. College Drive, next to US Bank. They serve both lunch and dinner at wonderfully affordable prices.
“I don’t want this to be a special occasion only place,” remarks Struwe about the pricing and menu selection, “I want this to be somewhere you can come every day.”