The former bar space adjacent to the Avalon Theater at 2473 Kinnickinnic Ave. has been under construction for the past few months in preparation for its transformation into Mistral, a new Mediterranean restaurant that promises a refreshing new dining experience.
The new casual restaurant, named for the strong northwesterly wind that sweeps through the Rhone Valley into the Mediterranean sea, will open to the public on Monday, Dec. 11.
The restaurant is owned by owned by Lee Barczak and his wife, Jane Schilz, proprietors of the Neighborhood Theater Group, which includes the Avalon, Rosebud and Times Cinemas.
At the helm is Chef Joe Schreiter, former executive chef of Sheridan’s and Bartolotta’s alum, who has designed a seasonal menu featuring starters like chicken confit with Moroccan spiced tomato chutney, fingerlings and chicken jus ($11), scallops with preserved lemon gremolata and blood orange salad ($14) and charred octopus with fondant potatoes, Spanish chorizo and romesco ($13).
Entrees include rabbit cacciatore with brown butter polenta ($19), Spanish mackerel cured with fennel and citrus and served with squash and beet fattoush salad with farro, pita and yogurt ($21).
The menu also features Tunisian brik, a traditional North African pastry, filled with potato poblano hash, ahi tuna and harissa vinaigrette ($23), steak and frites with za’atar fries ($21) and potato gnocchi with pumpkin ragu ($15).
The beverage program will include cocktails and wine curated by industry veterans Calvin Andersen and Jordan Burich. Burich says the wine selection will focus on food-friendly wines from small producers. "[It will be] an eclectic selection of mostly coastal Mediterranean varietals from the Canary Islands to Lebanon," he says. "With attention given to volcanic island wines."
Once open, Mistral will be open daily from 5 to 10 p.m.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.