Sophie Bolich

Sisu Cafe Is Closed

The Bay View cafe and sometimes-steakhouse quietly closed after eight months in service.

By - Mar 24th, 2023 02:14 pm
Site of Sisu Cafe. Photo taken Nov. 23, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of Sisu Cafe. Photo taken Nov. 23, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

Sisu Cafe, a Scandinavian-inspired coffeehouse and bakery that moonlighted as a steakhouse on weekends, is closed.

Earlier this week, a for-lease sign went up in the cafe’s front window. On Friday, the business was marked permanently closed. Sisu’s website and social media pages have been deleted.

The Bay View business opened at 2121 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in July 2022, serving Colectivo coffee and homemade Finnish pastries, as well as soup, salad and sandwiches.

In November, owners Francisco Sanchez and Ruben Piirainen extended Sisu’s weekend hours to include dinner service — transforming the daytime cafe into an old-school steakhouse.

Dinner service, held Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, featured three cuts of locally-sourced, wet-aged steaks, as well as sides such as roasted brussels sprouts with dijon hollandaise and garlic mashed potatoes.

Sanchez also acquired a liquor license last fall, which allowed him to take on an evening role as bartender — serving wine and Scandinavian-inspired cocktails such as the Lonkero, a Finnish drink with gin, lingonberry juice, grapefruit soda and lemon.

Sanchez, whose other credits include Sabrosa Cafe & Gallery and Taqueria Azteca, said the cafe’s name is representative of the challenges of the past two years. Sisu is a Finnish term meaning extraordinary determination in the face of adversity, an integral element of Finnish culture.

The cafe’s logo, a looped square known as Hannunvaakuna, is a Finnish symbol of good luck.

Sisu Cafe occupied a 1,800-square-foot retail space within Bay View Commons condominium complex, a shopping and residential complex that also houses two gyms, a Verizon store, a physical therapy clinic and insurance and investment advisor offices.

The Sisu location has been home to numerous restaurants. Subway, Fuji Poke and Taco Stop MKE all briefly operated at the address.

Sanchez did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication. His other establishment, Sabrosa Cafe & Gallery, 3216 S. Howell Ave., remains open Wednesday through Sunday for breakfast, brunch and lunch.


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