By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 28, 2011 at 3:21 PM Photography: Whitney Teska

Expect Ryan Braun to be pretty busy on Monday, April 4. That day will mark the Brewers 2011 home opener and the first day of regular service at Ryan Braun's Graffito, 102 N. Water St., in the Third Ward.

"The opening of Graffito has been a long time coming and we are excited to finally present the finished product to the people of Milwaukee," said SURG owner Omar Shaikh in a statement this afternoon.

"I think they will agree it was worth the wait and we’re not done. We know people will anxiously be waiting for the patio to open, which we’re expecting to be closer to May. We’ve got a few special things planned for the patio this year which will really make it the place to go after work or to just hang out with a group of friends."

No word yet on whether or not Braun will be in attendance on the restaurant's first day, but he was known to stop in at the restaurant often in its previous incarnation. And we know he'll be in town that day.

Ryan Braun's Graffito, featuring the work of chef Dominic Zumpano and pastry chef Kurt Fogle, will be open seven days a week. Dinner service is 4-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-11 Friday and Saturday and 4-9 on Sunday.

Beginning April 8, lunch will be served Friday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The restaurant is doing some trial runs by invite only this week.

In other foodie news, Festa Italiana announced today -- though it was in The Italian Times newspaper that hit stands late last week -- that the Cake Boss, aka Buddy Valastro will headline Festa Italiana.

Valastro, star of TLC's "Cake Boss" -- who was at The Pabst Theater in November -- will appear at the Marcus Amphitheater on Saturday, July 23 at 3 p.m.  

Tickets are $35 ($51.55 with Ticketmaster fees) or $25 ($41.30) and go on sale Friday, April 1 at 11 a.m. Tickets include Festa admission and can be purchased at the Marcus Amphitheater box office, the Italian Community Center and via

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.