Popular Franklin breakfast and brunch eatery Mimosa recently opened a second location, in the former Louise’s Trattoria space at 275 Regency Ct., and while that’s good news for Brookfield pancake lovers, it’s also surprisingly good news for preservationists.
That’s because owner Apostoli Evreniadis decorated the restaurant with items salvaged from the 1927 Mediterranean Revival mansion at 3534 N. Lake Dr. in Shorewood, designed by prominent Milwaukee architect Alexander C. Eschweiler.
Radiator covers in the restaurant (above) and in the home (below).
The mansion was demolished last year by its owner, outgoing County Executive Chris Abele, to make room for a new home.
Evreniadis purchased the materials from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore – which Abele allowed to deconstruct as much of the home’s interior as it could before demolition began last summer – and installed as the primary decor for the restaurant.
"(Apostoli) is extremely passionate about the creative use of items that have a ‘soul,’ as he described it, and bringing that emotion into his spaces," says Milwaukee Habitat Director of Marketing and Communications Jake Brandt.
"The half wall was created using doors from the mansion, with design help from Flux Design," adds Brandt. "The host desk is made from radiator covers that are meant to convey a feeling of warmth when you are greeted."
In addition, an old dining room arch is now part of the restaurant’s back bar and some of the mansion’s mirrors decorate the restaurant’s dining room.
Brandt said that Evreniadis is a ReStore regular and also purchased items from the store to decorate the Franklin restaurant, which opened in 2017.
"After stopping into ReStore a few times to figure out how to furnish the new location he wasn't quite finding what he was looking for," says Brandt. "He decided to give it one last try before going to a designer and having them fabricate everything from scratch. That's when lightning struck.
"Having no idea we had salvaged the items, he walked in and saw a frenzy around the Treasure Pickers area of our store where we stocked all the Eschweiler items. Kris, the store manager, who he had gotten to know over the course of shopping there frequently, said 'Haven't you seen the news,' referring to all the press and uproar about the mansion being torn down. Apostoli had not but once he saw what kind of items we had, he immediately pulled Kris aside and said 'grab a bunch of sold tickets.'"
Mirrors in the restaurant (above) and in the home (below).
Brandt says that pretty much everything pulled out of the mansion was sold within about a week of its arrival at ReStore, including many objects purchased by a member of the Hambrook family (previous owners of the home).
"(She) wanted to preserve the pieces," says Brandt. "She actually was in the store when Apostoli was on his shopping spree and asked what he was going to do with the items. Though she was still upset about the mansion coming down, Apostoli said she was pleased to hear the items would live on and bring joy to others in such a public-facing way."
Abele bought the nearly 10,000-square-foot mansion on a 2.5-acre lot for $2.6 million from George and Ann Hambrook, who raised a family of six children there across more than three decades, in early 2019.
His decision to tear it down drew media coverage and social media controversy.
The lot is now empty, but fortunately some parts of the mansion survive thanks to Habitat’s ReStore and to Evreniadis.
"Apostoli," says Brandt, "is extremely passionate about the creativity and emotion of reusing materials.
"In what sounded like a fluid stream of consciousness he basically determined the look of his new location in one ravenous shopping spree. He said he could hear the moans of people behind him as he frantically tagged items for the restaurant. He didn't even know what he was going to do with everything yet, it was just so fascinating that he couldn't pass up this rare opportunity."
The new Mimosa Breakfast & Brunch restaurant is located in a building now owned by Peter and Lou Liapis, the brothers who own the Georgie Porgie and Grassroots Salad restaurants. Louise’s closed in 2018.
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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.