By Amy L. Carlson   Published Aug 03, 2006 at 5:34 AM
In a tiny Thiensville location seconds from Fiddleheads Coffee House and Remingtons River Inn, first time restaurateur Gary Wong is getting ready to launch Allegro, 105 S. Main St., a wine, martini and dining lounge with just a hint of Asian flair.

Wong, whose family life included working alongside his father in their family restaurants as a young child, opened Allegro in part as a testament to the man who taught him all he knows about the restaurant business.

“I’m opening Allegro for my dad,” said Wong, “the restaurant business is the business he knows, and I wanted him to have a place to work now that he’s older and looking for something fun and challenging to do with his time.”

And while Allegro does indeed cater to a more mature demographic in the classic jazz and classic scotch and martini selections, it will also appeal to a younger, trendier crowd.

Wong, who is a seasoned veteran of the Milwaukee business and nightlife scene (he is a founder and owner of The Spin Group, a Milwaukee Web design firm) is no stranger to what makes a good spot for friends to congregate.

“We specifically have no televisions here at Allegro, we want to encourage good conversation, and a familiar and fun place for people to come to enjoy good company, good music, drinks, and food.”

The 40-seat former Chinese restaurant has been artfully divided into an open bar area with tall tables, a full dining area offset from the bar space with banquettes, and a smaller side room where Wong hopes to book local musicians on the weekends. Décor here is classy without being pretentious, and the color scheme of deep purples and rusty oranges make Allegro homey and inviting.

Partially due to the diminutive size of the restaurant, Wong has opted to make Allegro non-smoking in the hopes of providing a welcoming environment for non-smokers as well as smokers. With the bar area so close in proximity to the diners, Wong felt this was the best option, especially in light of the fact that Allegro will have an outdoor patio available in late fall.

Patrons at Allegro can expect to see an eclectic mix of varietals and foods on the menu. According to Wong, the staff is working hard to develop a unique and interesting martini list, and the Asian influenced menu -- which Wong does not definitively label “Asian fusion”, but as “Asian influenced” -- includes selections such as edamame with sea salt and sesame oil ($4) beef in black pepper sauce with jasmine rice ($18) and wok-fired salt and pepper shrimp ($16).

Allegro promises to have some fun desserts as well, including a Mango Mochi.

Allegro’s official grand opening is Friday, Aug. 11-Saturday, Aug. 19, from 5 to 10 p.m.., but inquisitive visitors are welcome to check it out now before the official opening.