If you build it, we will come. That's the news that folks in Wauwatosa, Washington Heights and other West Side neighborhoods have delivered to Cameryne Roberts and Sarah Jonas, who opened Juniper 61 at 6030 W. North Ave. in December.
The duo also owns Lulu in Bay View.
A recent visit found Juniper 61 hopping with customers. And during a quick chat, Roberts told OnMilwaukee.com that the neighborhood is coming out in force to check out the newest restaurant in eastern Tosa.
She said that even during that late-December blizzard, neighbors walked from their nearby homes, making for a busy Friday night on a day when many businesses were dead.
The response hadn't slowed down in the week between that night and our visit.
The interior of the building, which most recently housed Shiraz, has been completely changed with the old wooden booths removed and replaced with an open dining area. There is still a bar along the eastern portion of the space, which has been entirely repainted, too.
Although the colors and the vibe are warm, the room is a bit loud, especially when the joint is jumping.
The night I visited there were a number of waitstaff, two bartenders and the owners -- plus kitchen staff -- and everyone was in constant, hurried movement. Tables rarely sat empty more than a couple minutes.
As promised, the menu is Lulu-styled, but not identical to Lulu's, with burgers, sandwiches, salads. However, fans of that American eatery will be happy to know that the homemade potato chips and the Asian slaw have made the move to Tosa. I had a delicious tuna steak sandwich and my companions had grilled cheese and falafel and all were satisfying and done to perfection despite the hustle and bustle.
Juniper 61 has free parking in its own lot to the east of the restaurant.
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.