East Tosa will soon have their very own Benji's Deli.
The new deli will be going into the building at 6606 W. North Ave., adjacent to (and owned by) Camp Bar. The business has submitted their conditional use materials and will be on the planning commission agenda for July 14.
The original Benji’s has operated continuously in Shorewood, WI since 1963. A second location in Fox Point opened in 1998. East Tosa will be the third.
Benji's owners Chris and Mike Price approached Paul Hackbarth, owner of Camp Bar, after Hackbarth began soliciting ideas for what to put into the space.
"We did a lot of surveying among the neighborhood," says Hackbarth, "And what we found was that there were a huge number of neighbors hoping for a deli... somewhere where they could grab a quick sandwich."
Hackbarth was also hoping he could find a partner who would be a good fit to supply food for patrons of Camp Bar. And Benji's, he says, will be the perfect addition.
According to Chris Price, the building -- currently a chiropractor and grocery -- will be rennovated beginning in August after the current tenants vacate the space. The decor, he says, will resemble the look and feel of the Shorewood Benji's location and will maintain the same simple family style. A full service counter will include a deli (displaying Benji's unique selection of meats and salads), and a cutting station where we will showcase their famous hand-sliced corned beef.
However, according to Price, significant additions will be made, including some which might mirror the design of Camp Bar next door. For instance, the plan may include extending the building out the back and providing patio space for outdoor seating. Price says they will work closely with Hackbarth to create a cohesive exterior look and feel.
The menu will be similar to the other Benji's locations and will feature favorites like matzo balls, corned beef, tongue and other deli specialties. Though the deli will close by 8 p.m., the Benji's kitchen will remain open with an abbreviated menu available for Camp Bar patrons.
"Our businesses really complement one another," says Price. "We've really enjoyed working with Alderman Joel Tilleson and Paul Hackbarth. And we're eager to join the East Tosa neighborhood."
The plan is for Benji's to be open by the end of the year.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.