Sophie Bolich

Temple Goddess Planned For Paper Table

Vegan restaurant will serve fusion dishes from Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines.

By - Jan 24th, 2023 03:18 pm
Paper Table sign. Photo taken Dec. 30, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

Paper Table sign. Photo taken Dec. 30, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

There were these three best friends who loved to cook — one Sicilian, one Indian and one Turkish. No, this isn’t the lead-in to a corny joke, it’s the true story of restaurateur Gregory Cilmi‘s initiation into the world of fusion cuisine.

Cilmi, whose great-great grandfather opened a restaurant in New York City’s Little Italy, had a childhood intertwined with food — from growing up in the family restaurant to sharing recipes with his two best friends.

“We spent a lot of time sampling each other’s foods and doing fusion,” he said. “So from a very young age, I have been mixing and doing fusion of Asian, South Asian and Middle Eastern foods.”

That’s what will be on the menu at Temple Goddess, a new concept planned for Paper Table. Cilmi will co-own the restaurant with his business partner, Eve Savva.

The delivery-focused food hall has a wide variety of offerings, from towering cake slices to seafood, burgers and poutine, but until now had yet to welcome a plant-based restaurant.

Temple Goddess will serve an all-vegan menu featuring soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts with flavors inspired by Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. The menu will also include several gluten-free items, including housemade wraps.

Later on, the brunch, lunch and dinner restaurant plans to add juices and smoothies to its menu, Cilmi said.

A trained dancer and certified yoga instructor, Savva studied tap, ballet, modern dance and classical Indian dance, and has been a performer of Middle Eastern dance for more than 15 years.

She crossed paths with Cilmi while working as a dance instructor in New Jersey. The two later relocated to Tarpon Springs, Florida in 2009 and opened a brick-and-mortar location for Savva’s dance and yoga business, Temple Goddess. The studio later expanded to include a juice bar and cafe.

“While we were living in Florida,” Cilmi said, “I had taken several trips to Wisconsin and fell in love with Milwaukee. It reminded me so much of where I grew up in North Jersey that when the opportunity arose we decided to relocate here.”

“Florida is a nice place to visit, but my trips to Milwaukee felt like I was coming home,” Cilmi added.

Though the new venture will prioritize food over movement, the commitment of Temple Goddess to health and wellness remains the same as when the business was in Florida.

“We’re excited to be in the area,” Cilmi said.

Temple Goddess is expected to open in mid-February at Paper Table, 733-737 N. Milwaukee St.

As the opening approaches, the restaurant’s online menu will be regularly updated. Keep an eye on the Temple Goddess website for updates and more information.

Once open, the proposed hours for Temple Goddess are daily from 9 a.m. until midnight, according to a license application.

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