After 10 years of operation in Wauwatosa, Juniper 61 has announced that it will be closing its doors sometime in late August.
The restaurant, located at 6030 W. North Ave, is owned and operated by Sarah Jonas and Cameryne Roberts. The partners also operate Cafe Lulu in Bay View.
The building in which Juniper 61 currently resides is slated to be sold to Sarah and Zak Baker, industry veterans and current operating partners of Pizza Man. The sale is expected to be finalized in late August. From there, the couple plan to open a restaurant specializing in housemade pasta and Italian street fare later this year. Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for a detailed story about their plans in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, there are still multiple weeks to patronize and support the work that Jonas and Roberts have put into their beloved restaurant.
The two owners shared the following statement about their decision to close this morning.
"Hello beautiful friends!
We know many of you are very sad about the coming changes, but we want to assure you that the future owners, Sarah and Zak, are a great couple of Wauwatosans whose love of food and wine will no doubt win you over to their vision. As a matter of fact, we couldn't be happier that it is a wonderful, young, ambitious and inspired couple who will be making their own culinary dream come true in our beloved home. Far better than some impersonal chain or faceless developer with no skin in the neighborhood, no?
We sincerely hope that you will give them a chance to wow you with their talents. And just to clarify, this is not another Pizza Man they are opening and it's not "just another Italian restaurant" either. This is their own dream and their own vision and their own hearts they are pouring into it.
To set the record straight, we aren't closing Juniper because we don't love you or our food or the neighborhood or our staff or because sales are bad or we aren't making it. None of those issues played any part in our decision. These past 18 months have been fraught with personal difficulties and losses that have made us re-examine our own lives. We feel like our struggles have caused both restaurants to suffer and that we haven’t been able to support our team as much as they deserve.
Since we have never been "hands-off" owners, we just don't feel good about continuing on, doing half the job due to the emotional and physical challenges we've faced recently. We've tried to not let these issues interfere with our own performance, but, really, how can they not? Therefore we came to the very difficult, very emotional decision to sell rather than allow our customers and our employees to suffer the consequences of our less-than-ideal commitment level while our hearts and bodies are wrung out. We would rather lower the curtain on a high note, amidst feelings of joy and community and celebrate the years you have welcomed us and allowed us to serve you. We have every intention of remaining open until two weeks before the closing of the sale which should occur sometime in late August. If that date gets moved up, we will let you know.
We have loved our run with Juniper 61. We love that this neighborhood embraced us with open arms and stomachs and loved our food as much as we loved creating it. You have made this whole venture worthwhile and an experience we will look back upon fondly and cherish deeply.
Please don’t be too sad. Eat, drink, and make merry with us through the very end and then let’s all put up the chairs and extinguish the lights knowing we made the most of this time together.'
With love and gratitude,
Cam & Sarah
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.