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More Pizza, Pasta, Paella, Poke!

Three new restaurants, one new food truck, lots more to eat.

By - Sep 25th, 2018 03:33 pm
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Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta, 1154 N. Water St. Photo by Dave Reid.

Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta, 1154 N. Water St. Photo by Dave Reid.

A Milwaukee version of Chicago-based restaurant Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta is finally planning to open in East Town after four years of delays. Yes, the owners are hungry to open and expect to do so in a week or two.

The chain restaurant, which is located at 1154 N. Water St. on the ground floor of Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Grohmann Tower Apartments, is scheduled to have its business license issued by the Common Council today.

Owner Rudy Malnati Jr. had originally planned to open the venue back in 2014, but kept experiencing delays with construction as well as troubles getting a permit until finally obtaining approval to build out the restaurant space earlier this year.

Maredithe Meyer of BizTimes has more:

Earlier this year, Malnati filed a new commercial alteration permit with the City of Milwaukee, and construction on the space commenced. 

Malnati opened the first Pizano’s in 1991 and now owns six Pizano’s locations in Illinois and Rudy’s Bar and Grille in Chicago, where the family name is well known. The Malnati family’s pizza history dates back to 1943 when Malnati’s father, Rudy Malnati, Sr., managed and later became partner of the original Pizzeria Uno, where deep dish pizza began in Chicago.

Although nothing is confirmed yet, the license application indicates the restaurant may be approved for extended hours, which would allow it to serve food from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily, including delivery until 5:00 a.m. They would also be eligible to offer entertainment like live music or karaoke at the new venue.

Presenting Paella Police

The Stand Eat Drink Hospitality, operators of Hotel Madrid and Movida, softly launched a new food truck endeavor a few weeks ago called Paella Police, which is bringing authentic Spanish cuisine around the city.

As the name implies, the truck offers the traditional Spanish dish Paella, which has many variations in modern cuisine. The dish is typically made flat on a pan and includes a white rice base with options of various proteins and vegetables in the mix.

Lori Fredrich of OnMilwaukee has more details:

The Paella Police menu features three options: the paella pail (paella served in a Chinese takeout-style container), paella salad (served over greens) and a paella burrito (served in a tortilla). Each is $9 and features a build-your-own component. Each guest is given an ordering sheet on which they choose the components for their dish.

After the three main choices, the customer’s choice of three proteins or vegetables and other toppings like sauce or fried onions are also offered.

The food truck has been appearing regularly in the downtown area, stopping at Schlitz Park on Tuesdays, in front of the U.S. Bank building on Thursdays, and in Red Arrow Park on Fridays. Catering options are also available.

See Paella Police’s website and Facebook for updates on where they will visit next.

New Owners for Rosie’s Water Works

Owners of McGillycuddy’s and DiModa have recently teamed up to purchase Rosie’s Water Works at 1111 N. Water St.

Drew Deuster and J.J. Kovacovich of Wild Planet Hospitality Group recently united with Nate Showers to purchase the venue.

The new owners say they will keep the establishment similar to how it was under previous ownership, while enhancing the atmosphere and infrastructure.

Sari Lesk of the Milwaukee Business Journal adds more:

“We’ve been looking for the right opportunity to join forces again and jump into a project as a team,” Deuster said in the release. “This iconic Milwaukee location just seemed to be the perfect fit.”

The team plans to leave the space “familiar” but add updates to enhance the property, such as a large, new deck off the north wall of the building. The kitchen will reopen and offer bar fare.

More information will be released at a later date, including details on renovations and business hours.

More Checkers Drive-Ins Coming

Popular national burger chain Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc. has plans to expand its beefy footprint in the Milwaukee area.

The chain is based in Tampa, Florida, and currently has approximately 880 locations around the country. Right now, a mere four of those locations are in Wisconsin, with three in metro Milwaukee.

Franchise development director Bruce Kim says he wants to grow the restaurant’s presence in the area, possibly stretching locations to as far south as Racine and as far west as Waukesha. Every town must have a Checkers!

Sari Lesk of the Milwaukee Business Journal has more:

…director Bruce Kim says he sees room for growth over the next five years.

“It’s just a matter of finding the right franchisee,” he said. “We’re very careful and strategic, so we’re not trying to rush into it…”

Kim said the Checkers & Rally’s franchise looks for middle-class and working-class neighborhoods with ethnic diversity to situate its restaurants. The venues are open for lunch, dinner and late-night crowds, he said, so the business seeks communities with nighttime activity, such as a bar scene.

The drive-in diner style chain opens roughly 50 new locations nationwide every year.

Checkers locations in the area are typically open from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Sundays.

Poké and Smoothies Comes to Wauwatosa

R&R Poké opened its doors last Saturday at 1460 Underwood Ave., former location of The Flower Lady.

With the increasing popularity of Poké spots around the city, R&R Poké is striving for a unique touch by offering not just build-your-own Poké bowls, but fresh blended fruit smoothies and bubble tea drinks.

Christopher Kuhagen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more:

All poké dishes range from $8.95 to $13.95…

R&R Poké also allows customers to order online and pick up at the restaurant.

The restaurant is named after its owners Ren Zhang and his wife Rachael Zhao.

R&R Poké is open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 9:00 p.m. on Sundays.

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