Gouda's Italian Deli, owned by SURG's Mike Polaski flung its doors open yesterday, but is running its first full day of service today at 218 N. Water St. – the former Centanni space – in the Third Ward.
Attractively decked out with dark wood shelving, patterned tin ceiling and baskets and other decor suggesting a classic "old neighborhood" grocery shop, Gouda's serves a range of cold sandwiches and panini, alongside a selection of Italian specialties.
On the shelves are select varieties of pastas, condiments, tuna, bread sticks, wine, soda, bottled water, coffee, San Marzano tomato sauce and other items.
The deli case houses a range of cheeses and charcuterie including prosciutto imported from Italy and Canada, but otherwise heavily sourced from New London's Hidden Creek Farm.
You can select from five cold sandwiches, like the Gouda Special ($6.95) – roast beef, gouda and pepperoncini – a trio of panini, like the campagniola, which I had for lunch today. It's prosciutto, provolone and arugula toasted on Italian bread from Sciortino ($7.95).
Customers can also make their own sandwiches ($6.95) choosing one meat, one cheese and anything for a list of basic toppings (lettuce, tomato, mayo, etc.). Extras like eggplant, roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella can be added for $1 a piece.
A promised speakeasy, called Bugsy's has not yet opened.
And for the record, I'm still trying to find out why an Italian deli is named for a Dutch cheese. The friendly fellow who made my sandwich didn't know. We agreed it might just end up being one of life's little mysteries.
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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.