The Vucciria sign came down recently, and the new awning with the name "Coco Bella" should be up in about a week, says Maria Megna, whose parents, Mimma and Joe Megna, own the restaurant at 1323 E. Brady St.
The Megnas -- who also operate Mimma's Café -- owned Vucciria with the Anton family, but are the sole owners of the new-and-improved Coco Bella. Maria is the restaurant's general manager.
According to Maria, the award-winning space that was created by Flux Design will change very little -- and yes, they are keeping the gelateria -- but the new menu is more extensive.
"The focus is not going to be on pizza, like it was at Vucciria," says Megna. "We will still serve pizza, but the menu will be more of a classic Italian menu with pasta, fish and other entrees."
A new chef, Hernan Reynoso, joined the staff in December.
Megna -- who holds a full-time job as an Italian wine importer -- says the restaurant will feature an extensive wine bar, focusing on Italian, Spanish and French wines. The prices, she says, will be moderate, around $28 for a bottle, with glasses and carafes also available.
The name "Coco Bella" came from two family dogs, Coco and Bella. "We went through about 100 names and came up with 'Coco Bella' because my parents have a Yorkshire Terrior named 'Coco' and I have a yorkie named 'Bella.'"
Megna says part of Coco Bella's mission is to be more involved with the community. They recently did a food demo with Brady Street neighbor Miss Groove, and on Sundays, kids -- who dine-in with parents -- eat for free from 2 to 7 p.m. A kids' menu is available every day of the week.
"Overall, we wanted to create more of a restaurant feel," says Maria, who worked for 12 years at Mimma's. "We want to provide a comfortable, affordable place where people can eat more than once a week."
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.