Andrew McCann
Now Serving

Don’t Dress Up For These Joints

The new restaurants opening are casual, casual, casual.

By - Feb 23rd, 2015 04:06 pm
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Trocadero. Photo by Alison Peterson

Trocadero. Photo by Alison Peterson

Pretty soon you won’t have to dress up at any restaurant in town.

Take the Trocadero Gastrobar, which we reported back in December, had been sold to the owners of Red Lion Pub. The new owners have been busy tweaking the restaurant’s theme, dropping “Gastrobar” from the name and streamlining the menu. The new Trocadero will still takes its culinary cues from France, but is refocusing, according to the Business Journal, on delivering a “more casual” dining experience as a bistro —  not that the old Trocadero was particularly formal.

Rewined Opening

Meanwhile, Trocadero’s previous chef, Brad Clark, has moved to a new restaurant in Elm Grove due to open in March, as reported by the Journal Sentinel. The restaurant, tentatively named Rewined, will take over the space formerly occupied by the Grove restaurant in the Village Court shopping center at 890 Elm Grove Rd. Rewined’s proprietor is Mark Antczak, who also owns the Inn at Kristofer’s in Sister Bay. The restaurant, we’re told, will focus on “casual upscale dining, with a contemporary menu of small and large plates,” writes the Journal Sentinel’s Carol Deptolla. The restaurant will serve dinner Tuesday through Sunday, with lunch during warmer months. The space seats 135, and will emphasize wine beverages, but will also have craft beer and cocktails.

Sandra’s on the Park

We reported in January that Tom White, Jr.’s Mia Famiglia restaurant in Hale’s Corners was closing. The new space will soon be occupied by Sandra’s on the Park, which is set to open in March or April, according to the Journal Sentinel, and will — lo and behold — offer a casual dining experience, while serving standard American dinners like “steaks, ribs, pasta and pizza,” Friday fish fry, and a happy hour complete with complimentary cheese fondue. According to owner Sandra Van Remmen, the restaurant will eventually have a breakfast menu sometime after the grand opening.

Chubby’s Cheesesteaks

With a name like that, you can imagine it’s not particularly fancy.

Chubby’s Cheesesteaks has a plenty casual place at 2232 N. Oakland Ave. and has now announced that plans are underway for a second location. According to, the new location at 2147 Miller Park Way – next to Menards – will carry over the original Chubby menu while adding a few breakfast items. Chubby’s Cheesesteaks II will open sometime this spring. Hours of operation will be 7am to midnight on weekdays and 9am to midnight on weekends. Deliveries will be available until 1am Sunday through Thursday and until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Agave Southwest Bar & Grill

Back in January, we reported that a new place called Agave Southwest Bar & Grill would be opening at 800 N. Plankinton Ave. in the first floor of the Cawker Building, a five-story, 117-year-old building located on Plankinton Avenue and Wells Street. Last week a Common Council committee gave the approval for a license, and even offered to expand its hours. Committee members noted that Agave had listed it would close at midnight, but since it also was applying for a bar license, could be open until 2 a.m. And so the restaurant is going with 2 a.m. We’re guessing it’s another casual place.

Sweets at Southridge Mall

If you find yourself in Greendale when your sweet tooth starts to tingle, Southridge Mall has you covered. The Milwaukee Business Journal reports that three sweet new vendors are open near the food court: LaFrutta, Yumz Frozen Yogurt, and TCBY. LaFrutta sells fresh fruity treats of all sorts, including salads and smoothies, milkshakes and snowcones. The other two vendors sell frozen yogurt. Both are self-serve stops that allow visitors to craft their own frozen yogurt concoction; there are the standard healthy options like fruit toppings and more tempting options like candy.

The Blues Factory

It’s only a twinkle in his eye, but Christopher Long is in the early stages of pitching a jazz- and blues-themed restaurant and convention center in Port Washington. According to the Journal Sentinel, the venue would be an “education and cultural preservation space, a performance venue, a banquet room, and a restaurant” meant to educate and honor the often unknown role the old Paramount Record label, based in Port Washington, played in the early blues and jazz movement. According to Long, the center would be a two-level, 15,000-square-foot building and would be developed on a parcel of land  – currently a parking lot – owned by the city. The lot – known as the “North Slip” site – was formerly the site of the Wisconsin Chair Co. factory building, which was demolished in 1959. (Paramount was actually a subsidiary of Wisconsin Chair.) It’s estimated that construction would begin next year if the project goes through.

Now Closing

To the dismay of many, North Avenue’s corner-side purveyor of specialty sandwiches, Love Handle, is closing its doors March 21. The small diner, which sits next to Jalisco in North Avenue’s Clocktower Building, has been open for two years, and got a very positive write-up from our critic Cari Taylor-Carlson. Owners Ally and Chris Benedyk wrote a farewell on the Love Handle Facebook page thanking their customers for supporting them. According to the message, the pair is headed “back to Indiana to start new projects.”

2 thoughts on “Now Serving: Don’t Dress Up For These Joints”

  1. Anonymous says:

    So is it now called Red Lion, Red Lion Trocadero, or just, still, Trocadero? Thank you for telling me about the new owners, since I wasn’t always happy with the old Tracadero menu, and will now enjoy visiting this restaurant again (especially since it’s within walking distance, in my neighborhood). As to casual dining, this being America, so many many restaurants encourage casual wear (thus drawing a larger clientelle), which is great because you can spontaneously decide to go to a restaurant at any time, especially with friend on an outing that may begin somewhere else.

  2. Jane Mueller says:

    The Rewinded owner does not own the Inn at Kristofer’s. The property is bank-owned as it was foreclosed on in June.

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