Palermo Villa, 2315 N. Murray Ave., has long been a favorite of mine. More than a decade ago, it took on special significance when my wife and I dined there on our wedding day. Since then, weâ€™ve returned every year on our anniversary.
When I heard it was closing, I was worried. But then, co-owner Dean Cannestra, whose sister Kathy Mirenda formerly owned the restaurant, told me it would reopen as Divino. My only fear, then, after watching week after week of renovations take place, was that it wouldnâ€™t be the same.
Iâ€™d talked to Cannestra in the past about the decor and about how it probably was time that Palermo Villa got a little facelift, and Iâ€™m pleased to report that a little facelift is exactly what the place got.
Walking in, as I did last weekend for the first time since it reopened in late December, I was pleased to see both that the place looked familiar, but also new. The layout is the same, but the decor has been completely re-done.
Outside, the facade has been freshened up but, at the same time, the Palermo Villa sign still alerts passersby that not everything has changed.
The bar looks much more like a destination now. In the past it seemed only like a place to wait for a table. A chalkboard with specials adds a dash of color.
The dining room is refreshed, with a new wine-themed mural along the west wall and other touches. Along the north wall, the booths were shifted a bit to the left to accommodate a required emergency exit.
Mirenda, who still works at the restaurant, tells me the kitchen was where the biggest changes occurred, making a difficult to navigate space much more functional for the staff.
The menu looked more or less the same â€“ though now many dishes are available in half portions, which is a nice improvement â€“ and Iâ€™m especially thrilled to note that the pizza doesnâ€™t seem to have a changed a bit. Itâ€™s still one of the best in town.
Thank you, Dean and Kathy! I was beside myself thinking I could no longer get my favorite comfort foods from my youth when I visited Milwaukee. Good luck, hope you make lotsa money.
2 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published June 29, 2016
The more I fly, the less I enjoy it. Sure, I like the feeling of freedom, of being out roaming and seeing the world and experiencing new places. But last night's attack on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport really shakes me.
Published June 28, 2016
Tis the season for 11 days of nearly non-stop music at the Henry Maier Festival Park. Here, Bobby Tanzilo scours the Big Gig schedule to make some suggestions for some must-see acts at Summerfest 2016, starting, of course, with Sir Paul.
Published June 23, 2016
Today, I spent a little time with architect Craig Eide and Fernwood Montessori School principal John Sanchez touring the Bay View public school's new addition, which is expected to be complete by mid-July, for a Sept. 1 first day of school.
Published June 21, 2016
Recently, we visited Engine Co. 6 on Brady Street, a firehouse that, in addition to being well-known in the neighborhood, has a long history on the East Side. The first station was built here in 1875 and was replaced with the current building in 1946.
Published June 15, 2016
On Tuesday, Milwaukee Christian Center's Neighborhood Improvement Project "dropped" another modular home for low-to-moderate-income families into place on Milwaukee's South Side, in the shadow of the St. Josaphat dome near Lincoln Avenue.
Published June 14, 2016
More than a century and a half after the opening of the first brewery in Milwaukee, the city's identity is still drenched in beer. At Forest Home Cemetery, many of the men who made the beer that made Milwaukee famous lie in repose. You can "meet" them at Brunch with the Barons.
Published June 13, 2016
Last October, Marquette University opened a new Jesuit Residence. But one reader knew I'd be more interested in the building the priests formerly called home. So join me as we take a last look at the old Stratford Arms Hotel before it is razed in July.
Published June 9, 2016
"American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood" is at Milwaukee Art Museum from June 10 through Sept. 5. Here are seven works that especially caught the eye. But, rest assured, in a show with about 100 Benton works, there's plenty more.
Published June 7, 2016
Milwaukee as it could be. That's how artist John O'Neill approaches his unique, colorful, engaging and action-packed Milwaukee Envisioned series of drawings of the city, which mash up the past, present and potential future of the Brew City.
Published June 3, 2016
The Maryland Avenue Montessori School building has been growing periodically ever since the first school was opened on the site in the mid-1860s. With one of MPS' most successful and popular programs bursting at the seams of the building, a new addition is coming.