By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Oct 18, 2018 at 3:01 PM

Season's eatings! The weather may be getting colder, but Dining Month on OnMilwaukee is just cooking up, dishing out your winning picks in this year's Best of Dining poll. Dining Month is brought to you by Fein Brothers, your premier food service equipment and supply dealer in Wisconsin since 1929. Congratulations to all of the winners, and happy eating for all those who voted!

Trouble & Sons Pizzeria, which opened this week at 133 E. Silver Spring Dr. in Whitefish Bay, will host its grand opening on Sunday, Oct. 21 featuring a variety of drink specials and giveaways. And we’ve got everything you need to know before you go, plus a peek at the decor and menu.

Behind the restaurant are owners Tamela Greene and Anne Marie Arroyo, who cut their teeth two years ago on MOXIE, a funky, cozy restaurant with a menu filled with comforting dishes. And you’ll find much of the same vim and vigor in the decor at Trouble & Sons.

The dining room features a palette that mimics nature with subtle hues of moss green and earthy taupe. Greene says the hues were inspired by a photo depicting a mountain creek with rocks, a waterfall and leafy, mossy banks.

Just inside the doorway, guests will find a welcoming lounge area, the perfect spot to grab a glass of wine while waiting for your table. It features vibrant velveteen couches, a rustic coffee table and a beautiful piece of art by Chinese artist Li Li of Atlanta, Georgia featuring Chinese characters that spell out the word "success."

Those familiar with MOXIE may have spied another piece by Li Li, featuring less defined, almost silhouette-like horses. Greene says the pieces together tell the story of her and Arroyo’s journey, from unsure restaurant owners to more experienced business women who are "a bit more defined and sure of our steps."

The bar at Trouble & Sons was designed and built by Michael Stodola, the artist behind MOXIE’s famous hood art installations. The front of the bar is covered in multidimensional stone tile, a project tackled by Arroyo herself. Meanwhile, the cubbies that adorn the back bar were repurposed from the Roman Coin pizzeria (regulars might remember their formerly bright orange hue and purpose as storage for the pizzeria’s plates).

Just past the bar, guests will find a portrait of "Ruby," a female motorcyclist depicted by artist David Uhl of Colorado. The piece is part of his "Women of Harley" series, a sister piece to the portrait of Gloria Struck at MOXIE and an homage to Greene and Arroyo’s past employment with Harley-Davidson as well as their respect and appreciation for the women of the world who exhibit the moxie to carve out their own paths.

Tuck around a corner to the East and you’ll find what Greene calls the Club Room, a semi-private dining area that can comfortably accommodate 10-12 diners. It features a small sitting area with leather lounge chairs flanked by historic family photographs which tell the stories of Arroyo’s Italian immigrant relatives journey to New York and Greene’s family lineage in Kentucky.

Another piece of art – "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" by Patty Beaton – hangs behind the table. It’s a whorl of color that incorporates spheres reminiscent of colliding planets. Greene says the painting is – among other things – a subtle nod to the rocket ship and space theme that accompanied Roman Candle, the pizzeria that occupied the space before Trouble & Sons.

You'll also find beautiful photos depicting Johnny Cash after the Folsom Prison session that rebooted her career, as well as a shot of the always moxie-filled Tina Turner and her unforgettable legs.

The Club Room can be reserved anytime by larger groups for dinner or small gatherings. It will also be one of the sites utilized for post-film discussions during the Milwaukee Film Festival.

One last thing: don't forget to check out the ladies room. Greene and Arroyo have done it again with another shadow box featuring Barbie dolls that might just look a bit like Laverne & Shirley (or Tamela and Anne Marie, if you will).

Pizza! And Italian wedding soup

The kitchen at Trouble & Sons is headed up by Chef Carlos Escorcia, an employee who has been with MOXIE since the restaurant opened.

On the menu, guests will find appetizers like crispy pepperoni topped with parmesan and fresh basil; caprese salad; pesto bruschetta and snacks like marinated olives, an antipasto platter (featuring meats, cheeses and olives) and garlic bread (priced $6-16).

There are numerous salads – from classic Caesar to roasted vegetable (priced $10-12) – along with soups including housemade pasta fagioli and Italian wedding soup, perfect for a blustery winter evening (cup or bowl for $3.75 or $4.50).

Meanwhile, house pizzas come with toppings from classic margherita, roasted veggie, Hawaiian and The Sprout, a pie topped with mixed mushrooms, crispy Brussels sprouts, mozzarella cheese and a balsamic truffle glaze.

There’s also the MOXIE, a pie that pays homage to the restaurant’s popular shrimp and pesto dish. Each is available with either thin or hand-tossed crust (12" or 16") or on a gluten-friendly cauliflower crust (10"). Pricing varies from $13-16 for 12-inch pizzas to $17-22 for 16-inch pies. Cauliflower crust pies run $12-14.

Build-your-own pizzas are also available toppings including meats like pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, anchovies and Canadian bacon; cheeses including fresh mozzarella, cream cheese and feta; and vegetables including tofu, roasted garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, olives, peppers, artichokes, spinach and fresh basil.

On the beverage side, Trouble & Sons offers a wine list featuring primarily Italian selections, a small beer list and numerous house cocktails including The Troublemaker with rum, amaro, honey liqueur and grapefruit soda ($12) and The Godfather featuring Scotch and amaretto ($10).

There are also desserts including cannoli (plain or chocolate dipped), tiramisu, chocolate lava cake and gelato ($6-9).

Trouble & Sons is open Tuesday through Sunday from 4 to 10 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.