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 Sept. 29, 2016
It's been four years since LEGO KidsFest has been to Milwaukee, and during that time, the LEGO craze has grown and grown. The event is back in town and we caught up with master model-builder Chris Steininger to find out what we can expect to find at KidsFest.
Published Sept. 27, 2016
Driving past, you might not really notice the changes at the Elite Sports Club-River Glen, 2001 W. Good Hope Rd., in Glendale, which was built as Le Club in 1972 and purchased by Elite in 2012. But on the inside, it seems that everything is changing.
Published Sept. 26, 2016
You know the old saying, "it takes a village." Well, that village is what's currently fueling the Milwaukee Public Museum's push to get its vast collections digitized and online. That and some funding from grants, too, of course.
Published Sept. 26, 2016
One of the oldest watering holes in the city, the White House, 2900 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., is celebrating its 125th birthday on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1-2 with drink specials, games, raffles, food and more, as well as a food drive for Hunger Task Force.
Published Sept. 22, 2016
There was a time when removing a building was a dramatic affair: buildings imploded with a boom or were pounded by a wrecking ball. These days, thankfully, there's a growing approach that seeks to keep as much waste out of landfills and reuse and recycle as much material as possible.
Published Sept. 21, 2016
Did you know Milwaukee Public Schools has what might be the largest group of public Montessori schools in the world? Now, led by school board member Tati Joseph, there's a push to add a new South Side dual-language program to that group.
Published Sept. 20, 2016
Even in a neighborhood full of vintage architecture, there's no mistaking it. The Italianate Cream City Brick building at 1704 N. 4th St. looks old. If the area has had a long, varied history (and it has), then Baasen House is perfectly at home here.
Published Sept. 18, 2016
There's no better way to get a peek inside Milwaukee's most interesting - and often most historic - sites, many of them typically off limits to the public, than Historic Milwaukee Inc.'s annual Doors Open Milwaukee event. Here are 10 must-see sites.
Published Sept. 15, 2016
This is Brew City, so it should come as no surprise that we value Milwaukee's beer-soaked history. And Regano's Roman Coin has been a part of that tradition for five decades. In honor of it Regano's is throwing a party and we asked Teri Regano about it.
Published Sept. 13, 2016
Yesterday morning, a group of kindergarteners from Milwaukee Public Schools' Rogers Street Academy visited BMO Harris Bank to judge auditions by local sports mascots for roles in the upcoming production of Milwaukee Ballet's "The Nutcracker."