If the idea of sitting back to enjoy a Greek meze spread and refreshing drinks with friends sounds like the perfect evening activity, then get ready for the arrival of Avli, Milwaukee’s newest Greek restaurant, which will open Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 5 p.m.
The new two-story restaurant, located in the former View MKE at 1818 N. Hubbard St., will offer an experience unlike any other in Milwaukee: Greek fare in an approachable, yet upscale setting.
Guests familiar with the location will find a transformed space. Gone is the dark flooring, rustic wood and barn board which formed the foundations of the atmosphere at View MKE. In its place, guests will find a clean contemporary restaurant that evokes the experience of summer in Greece with creamy white walls, earth tones and furnishings that work together to create a bright, airy, upscale atmosphere.
Meanwhile, Avli will welcome the remaining weeks of clement weather with al fresco dining on its expansive 155 seat patio featuring both hard and soft seating, areas both sheltered and sunny, festooon lights, fire tables and views of the Milwaukee skyline.
Even better, every Avli experience is meant to be infused with three elements: kefi (joy, happiness in the moment), meraki (passion and talent) and philoxenia (an eagerness to welcome and embrace strangers).
On the menu
Behind the scratch menu at Avli is Executive Chef Babis Tsotras who presents a variety of Greek specialties from shareable Greek mezes to spreads, entrees and a rotating selection of desserts.
Spreads like tzatziki with cucumber, yogurt, garlic and dill; and tirokafteri, showcasing feta cheese, roasted red peppers, red pepper flakes and feta; are served with traditional or gluten-free pitas.
Meanwhile, meze offerings include familiar offerings like spanakopita with housemade filo, spinach, feta, and onion ($17); and Avli’s signature kataifi prawns wrapped in vermicelli-like strands of crisp filo and served with spicy aioli ($17).
Guests will also find classics like pork or chicken souvlaki featuring skewers of meat with marinated red onions, tomatoes and peppers served with toasted pita bread or gluten free pita bread ($15).
Something guests won’t find is the showy but-distinctly- American flamed saganaki. Instead, Avli serves the dish as it would be in Greece with warmed graviera cheese dressed in olive oil with lemon and honey-peppered figs ($16).
Entrees feature offerings like beer-battered cod with dill and skordalia dip ($21); moussaka with eggplant, potato, ground beef ragout, bechamel and graviera cheese ($21); and grilled lamb chops with oven-baked tomato slices, basil, garlic, oregano, thyme, olive oil and parsley pesto ($38).
Guests can also expect Greek sweets including a traditional chocolate dessert that Avli prepares in a modern fashion: Chocolate Mosaic features high-quality dark chocolate combined with condensed milk, cream, cocoa and cognac, which is studded with sweet pieces of sun-dried figs ($10).
At the bar
Meanwhile, the beverage program showcases both the familiar and adventurous with cocktails like Avli’s signature Teach Me to Dance (Greek wild mountain tea-infused vodka, bergamot, orange, thyme, honey and lemon).
Meanwhile, a curated Greek wine list will showcase crisp whites from Santorini, rosé from ancient Nemea and reds from the area north of Mount Olympus. Guests will also find a selection of Greek spirits to explore, including lesser-known offerings like masticha, a liqueur with an earthy, musky, vanilla-like flavor.
“Avli Inspired Greek aims to be a fun neighborhood restaurant and dining destination for friends, families, and colleagues to gather for everyday meals, celebrate life moments, or just hang out at the bar and get to know our staff," notes founder and CEO Louie Alexakis.
"The community greeted us with such a warm welcome as we approached our opening and we can’t wait to offer an environment where even those new to Greek cuisine can have an exceptional introduction to it.”
Beginning Sept. 20, Avli Milwaukee will be open for dinner service seven days a week from 5 p.m. to close. Reservations can be made online. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Lunch, weekend brunch and happy hour will also be added as the restaurant gains its footing. Guests can view the full menu online.
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.