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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

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In Dining

Wolski's patio: coming soon. Or soon-ish.

In Dining

Casablanca's patio and terrace: coming in September. Or September-ish.

In Dining

Vitucci's new patio will complement a new interior.

Bars and eateries splurge on new patios


Milwaukee welcomed a couple of new businesses with patios this summer, including the Twisted Fisherman, 1200 W. Canal St., which opened last month, and Alterra Bay View, 2301 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., which opened not even two weeks ago. Plus, The Salty Dog, which opened in nearby Cudahy last week, has a sizable patio/ beer garden, too.

However, multiple local, already-established bars and eateries added new patios, are in the process of adding a new patio or expanded on an existing one.

Wolski's, 1836 N. Pulaski St., broke ground on its new patio / beer garden in the spring. Dennis Bondar says he and fellow co-owners of the bar purchased the legally condemned house next door, had it torn down and started constructing in May.

The grand opening of the patio – which Bondar refers to as a "beer garden" – is yet to be determined because extreme temperatures this summer slowed down the building process. It is currently about half completed.

"It's going to be really nice, whenever we get it done," says Bondar. "And smokers will appreciate being under a covered area in the winter time."

The 36-by-28-foot patio will be very private with tall fencing and will include a partially covered area with a 17-foot-high roof.

"We're doing a lot of the work ourselves," says Bondar.

New construction is not common practice for Wolski's, a 100-year-old building that underwent some renovations in the past but for the most part is consistently restored to maintain the original charm.

About three weeks ago, Oscar's On Pierce, 1712 W. Pierce St., expanded its patio. Originally it was 20x20 feet and now it's 30x40 feet and seats 55 people.

"It offers a good view of the city," says owner Oscar Castaneda.

Castaneda, a longtime Sobelman's and Wicked Hop employee, opened the bar and restaurant, now known for its black Angus burger, in 2011.

"It's been a great summer," says Castaneda. "I got a new shuttle bus, too."

Milwaukee has come a long way with patio offerings. Longtime residents might remember a couple of decades ago when Von Trier, 2017 E. North Ave., offered one of the few patios / beer gardens in the city.

"There are so many new patios in town now, but I still go to Von Trier. Since 1982, it has been my favorite," says Walker's Point's Mike Gregory.

Just west of Von Trier, Vitucci's, 1832 E. North Ave., is undergoing a massive remodel that includes a new patio along Cramer Street. The inside of this East Side institution also is getting a face lift.

The massive renovation of Middle Eastern restaurant Casablanca on Brady, 728 E. Brady St., has awed many customers and passersby. The once single-story building has more than doubled in size and is becoming a stately, almost opulent, two-story space with large columns and an outdoor balcony and terrace on the west side of the building.

Co-owner Nas Musa says Casablanca's second story will include a large dining area for dinner overflow as well as for banquets, along with bar and office space. The dining area / bar will be similar to the downstairs decor, but will feature a different color scheme and furniture.

The kitchen area was also expanded.

"The menu will for the most part stay the same, but we plan to add a few more items," says Musa. "New menu items are still in progress."

Musa says the project was expanded mid-construction and although they were originally shooting to be open by Brady Street Festival at the end of July, the new projected opening date is Sept. 7.

"The project kept expanding," says Musa. "At first we weren't going to do a terrace, just the patio, but then we decided to do both."

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