For restaurateur John Vassallo, or "Johnny V" as everyone calls him, less is mo' as the Milwaukeean has closed Moceans, 747 N. Broadway, and as only OnMilwaukee.com reported last week, his Italian restaurant, Mo's Cucina. Vassallo notified Moceans employees of the Moceans' closing today at 11 a.m. Many of them could end up at other Mo's locations.
Vassallo told me on Saturday that it's time to focus on fewer concepts, namely his growing pubs and signature steakhouses. He plans to open more of each entity in coming years. His group now includes two Mo's Irish Pubs (the always-busy Tosa hang out and the Wisconsin Avenue institution), Mo's A Place for Steaks (Milwaukee and Indianapolis), Monsoon Wok and Lounge (Brookfield) and his Downtown coffeehouse, Mocha. He's also involved in several developments, properties and entities.
The Mo's Restaurant Group opened Moceans in the old Grenadier's space in June 2004 to rave reviews. At the time, he told OMC's Molly Snyder Edler: "It's a beautiful space and everything there is impeccable ... We plan to stay in line with the reputation of Grenadier's."
That it did, as Moceans buzzed for several years offering some of the best seafood in the area. The place was a favorite, also, of many area politicians, business leaders and sports stars.
As for future plans, Vassallo said he's focusing on pubs and steakhouses while adding five seafood menu items to the steakhouse and five Italian menu items to his Mo's Irish Pubs.
"It's a chance to focus on what we do best," said Vassallo, who also mentioned that the Downtown Mo's Irish Pub may eventually expand into the shuttered Cucina. He also said he's still attempting to find a hotel operator for the entire building that sits on the corner of Plankinton and Wisconsin Avenues.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.