By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 13, 2010 at 1:05 PM
Diablos Rojos Restaurants joins the growing squad of local restaurants and bars going smoke-free in advance of the July smoking ban.

Co-owner Mike Eitel announced that all the Diablos eateries -- Cafes Hollander (in Tosa and on Downer) and Centraal and Trocadero --  will ban smoking beginning next Monday, May 17.

A statement said that the decision was made "after analyzing customer feedback forms."

Since last autumn, the restaurants allowed smoking only after 10 p.m. Before that the restaurants had separate smoking sections.

"We've definitely noticed that our customers have become more and more vocal about their disgust with second-hand smoke," said Eitel, who added that most diners have come to expect smoke-free environments in restaurants.

"We have been reading feedbacks for the last couple of years and have seen a significant change in customer attitudes," said Eitel.

"I think that people used to tolerate indoor smoking in restaurants because they had to. Now that the bill has been signed and the new law goes into effect soon, a huge majority of customers simply won't tolerate it any longer."

Eitel said that ending smoking also has a previously unseen noise reduction benefit.

"We will be able to remove our huge, noisy smoke 'eating' machines which means our music doesn't have to overpower the motors and people don't have to talk over the music-it's a noticeable difference when those things get turned on at night."

The Politics of Pizza

When I moved here in the early '80s I tried eagerly to get my whole pizzas cut like pies, even going so far as to draw what I meant on a napkin at Lisa's on Oakland. But even that night it arrived cut into little useless squares that couldn't hold on to their cheese.

Palermo's Pizza, in the valley, is leading a campaign to let pizza fans decide on triangle or square slices, with a kick-off "Palermo's Pizza Primary" Saturday, May 22, at Villa Palermo, 3301 W. Canal St., at 11 a.m.

Square and Slice are the main contenders and will be on hand for a debate at the event. "Voters" get a free slice or square of pizza and families can take pictures with a range of local mascots, including Bango, the Racing Sausage, Bucky Badger and the Admirals' Roscoe. The Pius XI marching band will play and there will be prizes.

Admission is free but voters are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the Hunger Task Force.

"Even our own family, with deep Sicilian roots, is divided on the issue," said Giacomo Fallucca, president and CEO of Palermo’s Pizza. "We’re asking Milwaukee to help us start a national campaign to finally put the decision to rest."

After the primary is held here in Milwaukee, Palermo’s takes its pizza politics show on the road to North Carolina, Iowa, Missouri, Virginia, Alabama and beyond. Details are on the Decision 2K10 election Web site.
Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.