Mitchel Writt
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The Return of Fried Chicken

The Tandem will offer three kinds. And Meritage gives customers three weeks of the bird.

By - Jul 19th, 2016 03:50 pm
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The Return of Fried Chicken. Photo from The Tandem Facebook page.

The Return of Fried Chicken. Photo from The Tandem Facebook page.

Cafe Grace

The Mayfair Collection’s newest addition, Cafe Grace, is set to open today at 11200 W. Burleigh St. in Wauwatosa. The Parisian-style bistro will have a wide variety of offerings, such as soups, sandwiches, salads and entrees. The Bartolotta-managed restaurant will be open Sunday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Lunch options are expected to come along by early August. Lori Fredrich of OnMilwaukee.com recently visited Cafe Grace and highlights what to expect:

The restaurant is more formal than either of the other two Mayfair Collection concepts (ABV Social and El Jefe), boasting an elegant feel. But it’s not so elegant that you couldn’t show up to dine in a pair of your nicer jeans.

At the bar, there will be wine (of course). But there will also be an absinthe fountain from which customers can enjoy Rehorst Verte and Amerique 1912 served up in the traditional fashion – adorned with droplets of iced water that are funneled from the fountain, over a spoon cupping a sugar cube and into the absinthe below.

Menu pricing ranges from $5-$12 for appetizers and $20-30 for entrees with sandwiches falling in the $15 range.

The Tandem

The former Wally Schmidt Tavern (1848 W. Fond du Lac Ave.) will now be home to a new restaurant, set to open this fall. The Tandem, operated by chef Caitlin Cullen, will be giving a series of pop-up dinners to preview the food, and the first (which sold out) was last night at Amalinda (315 E. Wisconsin Ave.), whose owners are always generous about lending their space to other chefs.

The staple of The Tandem’s menu will be fried chicken. Ann Christenson of Milwaukee Magazine gives more insight:

Cullen intimates that more pop-ups will follow. Her menu looks mighty diverse – steak chimichurri to Thai curry to daily specials served family-style – and the dish you’ll probably hear most about leading up to the opening is fried chicken. Cullen will have three kinds – Dominican roasted, “Georgia fried” and what she called “spicy Memphis fried” (brined in hot sauce and dipped in wet cornstarch batter). It’s the Memphis-style chicken that Cullen is serving at the Amilinda pop-up, along with sides like mac and cheese and braised bitter greens. She’s also doing a house pickle plate, salad course and a tart cherry upside-down cake for dessert.

Samples From The Pop-Up Dinner

Finn McGoo’s Public House and Eatery

Just a week after the closing of Taylor & Dunn’s Public House, at 10365 N. Cedarburg Road in Mequon, the restaurant has announced new plans. Finbar and Gloria MacCarthy will open Finn McGoo’s sometime later this summer. Carol Deptolla of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel adds more:

A notice on the Taylor & Dunn’s website says Finbar and Gloria MacCarthy will take over the pub and rename it Finn McGoo’s Public House and Eatery. The couple previously operated MacCarthy’s in Saukville.

Gloria MacCarthy said the couple expects to close on the sale soon and hopes to reopen the pub this summer.

Closing Soon: Meritage

Jan Kelly, chef and owner of Meritage (5921 W. Vliet St.), has announced her plans to close her business on August 11. Kelly has owned the restaurant for nearly a decade but has decided to pack up for California to be closer to her family. Fans of the cozy Washington Heights restaurant will have a few more chances to enjoy food at Meritage, as featured specials will be offered as the closing date approaches. Fredrich reports:

July 20, July 27 and Aug. 3: Wednesday fried chicken

For three Wednesdays, Meritage customers can enjoy one of their favorite dishes: Kelly’s buttermilk and Tabasco-brined fried chicken, gravy and chipotle honey, and sour cream biscuits made from her mom’s recipe.

Menu encores

In lieu of Tapas Tuesdays and Mussel Thursdays, other special dishes will be rolled out on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between July 14 and Aug. 11, as Kelly pulls out favorites from the more than 100 menu items she’s created since opening the restaurant. They will include the stacked enchilada, bison meatloaf and grilled romaine Caesar salad with scallops. Watch the Meritage website and Facebook page for specifics on each week’s encores.

Aug. 10: Chefs Dinner

Kelly loves to cook, and she really loves to cook with friends – so she’s invited several of her most innovative chef friends to cook a five-course farm-to-table dinner at Meritage Wednesday, August 10, which she calls “a testament to a community of food lovers.” Participating chefs will include Justin Aprahamian of Sanford, Nell Benton of The National, Thi Cao of Buckley’s, Mike Engel of Pastiche and Joe Muench of Black Shoe Hospitality. The menu will feature local ingredients from area farms (of course!).

Now Closing: La Perla

After 21 years of serving Milwaukee, La Perla has closed at 734 S. 5th St. in Milwaukee. The owners, Nick Anton and JoAnne Anton, said goodbye to friends on Saturday with free tequila shots until the bottles ran dry. Deptolla reports:

With S. 5th St. scheduled for reconstruction for the next several months or so and a buyer interested in the business, JoAnne Anton said, the time was right to close the restaurant.

The couple opened their restaurant long before the Walker’s Point resurgence, with upscale restaurants rapidly opening in the neighborhood in the past few years. They were drawn by the 19th-century architecture and the feeling that the neighborhood was “undiscovered” by the rest of the city, Anton said.

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