For family-friendly dining at a reasonable price, there are few places better than Heinemann's. Therefore the loss of the venerable Silver Spring Drive location in Whitefish Bay was sad.
But we live nearer the Mayfair Road diner -- across from the mall at 2717 N. Mayfair Rd. -- and were saddened to hear this weekend that that location will close, too, in June. But, the good news is that it will reopen in the mini-mall that will be built on the northwest corner of Center Street and Mayfair Road.
Heinemann's is the closest thing Milwaukee has to the old-style coffee shops that I remember from my youth, when there were chain places like Chock Full O' Nuts (maybe they were franchises, who knows) and long-lived places with equally long counters, like Dubrow's on Kings Highway in Brooklyn, around the corner from where we lived.
On any given day, Heinemann's is full of older folks who come to eat, read the paper, pass some time and chat with the waitstaff, on a first-name basis, of course. There are families with kids, men in business suits talking shop, truck drivers and just about everyone else.
That our "neighborhood" Heinemann's will return sure is good news to me.
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.