By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Nov 25, 2002 at 5:43 AM

Mo's Market: A Place for Wine, 717 N. Plankinton Ave., is expanding and quickly. With a flood of Christmas and holiday parties booked, Mo's is wasting no time -- as crews work night and day -- to transform an adjacent empty storefront to the north.

Across the street from its parent restaurant, Mo's: A Place for Steaks, Mo's Market celebrated its first anniversary in August. Mo's, which has helped ignite the Westown neighborhood, began with wine and cheese and quickly expanded into a full deli, wine shop and cafe with a lunch and dinner menu.

"A funny thing happened on our way to becoming a wine bar," said General Manager Steve Firszt, "food."

The unique atmosphere and deli sandwiches and appetizers are a great draw for Mo's Market.

"Our lunch business has grown 5-6-fold just since June," said Firszt, who added that owner Johnny Vassallo closed on the new space just weeks ago.

"We hope to have butts in the seats the first week of December," Firszt said.


The success of the Vassallo operation is in part due to the increase in downtown dwellers and the demand for wine parties and tastings that have become a major part of the business.

"Information is empowering when it comes to wine," said Firszt. "The fun is the unending variety. We have really made information a priority."

With three weekly wine tastings (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays), Mo's needs the new space to accommodate these popular events as well as increased in holiday party bookings, Liszt said.

"It's clear that we are about wine. One our favorite sights is to see people shopping in the store while drinking a glass of wine," said Firszt, who confirmed one of the wine bar's most unique traits -- its on-premises consumption policy.

If you've never been to Mo's, you'll appreciate the ability to shop, buy and drink right away. All the more than 500 wines are available for affordable prices since you can buy a bottle, pay a 25% surcharge and drink it on the spot. So a $30 bottle of wine that may cost $50 in most restaurants will only set you back $37.5 at Mo's Market. "The value proposition is really good," concluded Firszt.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

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.