Steve Sazama – The Cornerstone of a Thriving Hospitality Business
Steve Sazama (“Saz”) of Milwaukee first opened Saz’s State House Restaurant in a historic building near the railroad tracks on Milwaukee’s west side in 1976. Although he anticipated that quality cuisine and service would draw customers in, he never imagined his restaurant becoming the centerpiece for an expansive enterprise that now includes catering services, festivals and retail barbecue products divisions.
Early Life and Education
In 1976, Milwaukee native Steve Sazama (known by friends and customers as “Saz”) established Saz’s State House Restaurant in a historic building near railroad tracks on Milwaukee’s West Side. His aim was to establish an establishment offering delicious food with impeccable service – which proved successful.
Saz also assisted Jerry Cohen in opening East of Mecca, later to become Major Goolsby’s. This experience provided Saz with invaluable business acumen that would enable him to open and run successful establishments on his own.
Millie Sazama survives, along with their children: Kathey Sazama McCombs of Longmont Colorado, Krissy Sazama Williams of Aberdeen and Sandy Sazama Conard from Custer; grandchildren Travis, Josh, Carly, Jenny Cole Steven Katie Jacob. Seven great-grandchildren were left behind as well: Nora Birtwistle Kayla Birtwistle Sarah Giusti Helen C Garbuz and Emily Nielsen and two nephews: Tom Sazama and Jerry Sazama.
In 1976, Milwaukee native Steve Sazama (known affectionately to friends and customers as “Saz”) opened the State House Restaurant in an iconic building on Milwaukee’s west side. This would become the cornerstone of his booming hospitality business with flourishing catering, festival catering and barbecue sauce divisions.
Saz takes great pleasure in supporting local athletic pursuits through running shuttles for Brewers, Bucks and Marquette basketball games as well as sponsoring Admirals Hockey teams. His team are also avid supporters of youth development programs in their community.
Sazama currently resides in Eskan Village in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where she serves as Staff Judge Advocate for the United States Military Training Mission (USMTM). USMTM trains, advises, and supports Kingdom Ministry of Defense security cooperation efforts through security cooperation training efforts. Northeast has recognized Sazama for her professional achievements and outstanding citizenship qualities.
Achievement and Honors
Saz is passionate about supporting local athletic endeavors and community youth – from running shuttles to Brewers, Bucks and Marquette games, sponsoring Admirals Hockey or giving young baseball players high fives and Mozz sticks as rewards for making winning hits – to building one of Milwaukee’s premier sports bars with his State House Tavern. Alongside Dorothy, they share two sons; six grandchildren each married off; half brother with wife; sister-in-law plus numerous nieces and nephews – Sazama also is honored as part of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame membership!
Steve Sazama (better known by his nickname of Saz) opened Saz’s State House Restaurant on Milwaukee’s West Side in 1976 in a historic building adjacent to railroad tracks, knowing his customers would love his delicious cuisine and exceptional service. Little did he realize it would become the basis for an ever-expanding business including Catering, Festivals, and retail Barbecue Products divisions!
Saz hails from Wisconsin and takes great pleasure in giving back. He regularly supports both pro and semi-pro sports teams as well as community youth programs in his community, running shuttles to Brewers, Bucks and Marquette games or giving young baseball players healthy high-fives – Saz delights in giving back to an area which has given so much back.
Steve Sazama established his State House Restaurant in Milwaukee’s West Towne neighborhood in 1976 with a recipe for barbecue sauce and an insatiable desire to create an exceptional establishment. Over time, this original eatery became a Summerfest mainstay with excellent service and an ever-expanding following; today the business encompasses full service restaurant operations as well as catering operations for corporate and private buildings as well as festival foods sold retail; in addition to providing catering at Marcus Center for the Performing Arts catering operation and retail store operations.
Steve leaves behind his beloved wife Nancy and three daughters – Casey, Stephanie and Nolan – as well as an extended family consisting of sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews who will remember and miss him deeply. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.