By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Oct 08, 2021 at 8:01 AM

’Tis Dining Month, the tastiest time of year! This means we’re dishing up fun and fascinating food content throughout October. Dig in, Milwaukee!

A new Mediterranean restaurant is on the docket to open this fall at The Mayfair Collection. The new restaurant, Adriatic Fresh Seafood & Steaks, is slated to occupy the former Cafe Grace space at 11200 W. Burleigh St.

The new eatery will be operated by brothers and business partners Sklkim (Kika) Saliu and Ben Saliu, who also own Golden Nest Pancakes & Cafe at The Mayfair Collection, as well as Sunview Restaurant in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

Kika Saliu says the idea for the concept grew from the overall dearth of the popular Mediterranean restaurants which exist in most larger restaurant markets.

“We have seafood places here,” he says, “And we have many steakhouses. But what we’ve noticed is that there are no Mediterranean style restaurants here. So, we are excited to create a concept that brings that to Wauwatosa.”

Inside, Saliu says the restaurant will showcase a very modern design featuring wood accents, along with butcher block wood-topped tables, modern velvet chairs and a color scheme that focuses on yellows and aqua.

On the menu

Saliu says the emphasis at Adriatic Fresh will be on quality, fresh, simply-prepared seafood at an affordable price point. Saliu says that he would like to keep main course menu pricing around $30 per entree, though pricing will be based on the market and availability

He expects that seafood will be delivered to the restaurant daily, and says the fresh catch will also  displayed for guests in a cooler near the main entrance of the restaurant. 

Selections will include options like Alaskan halibut, salmon, red snapper, Adriatic branzino with preparations that include whole fish cooked over an open flame.

Sshellfish, lobster and crab legs will also be available, along with freshly shucked oysters. Saliu says oysters will be sourced mainly from the East Coast, though he notes that they will add West Coast oysters as well if there is demand from guests. 

The menu will also include a Wisconsin-style fish fry featuring battered cod and all the prerequisite accoutrements.

For guests who would prefer options other than seafood, Adriatic Fresh will also offer a menu of pasta dishes featuring various ingredients and three types of sauces: a red tomato-based sauce, a cream sauce and an olive oil based sauce. Ingredients will include both extra virgin olive oil and items like feta cheese which are sourced from Southern Albania.

A small menu of steaks – including popular cuts like filet, New York strip and ribeye – will also be available, with all meats wet-aged for a minimum of 45 days.

Adriatic Fresh will also have a pastry chef on staff, so they will be able to offer a menu of unique housemade desserts.

Saliu says the restaurant will have licensure for beer and wine only. He expects the wine collection to start off at about 100 bottles with a focus on primarily California wines. But he says he hopes to bring on a few Mediterranean selections, including wine from Northern Macedonia and potentially Albania.

He says that the restaurant has experienced some significant delays, largely due to the availability of equipment. But he is hopeful that they might be able to open Adriatic Fresh by mid-November.

“This is certainly the worst time for the restaurant industry,” he says, “But we’ve done well in the community with Golden Nest and are excited to bring something really new to the area.”

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.