By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jun 29, 2021 at 11:01 AM

Two accomplished chefs are joining forces to bring a compelling new restaurant concept to Milwaukee.

Orilla is the name of the new eatery, which promises a memorable, experiential dining experience showcasing world class fare in a fun, casual environment. And, if all goes well, guests could experience a first meal at the new vanue as soon as September.

The location for the restaurant is currently under wraps, but diners have good reason to be excited about the concept.

Behind Orilla is local chef and 20+ year industry veteran Anthony Gallarday of Tavo’s Signature Cuisine, 5814 W. Bluemound Rd., a restaurant which has paved the way for the rise of New Mexican cuisine in Milwaukee.

To bring the restaurant to fruition, Gallarday will work side-by-side in consultation with Graham Campbell, a Michelin-starred Scottish chef who garnered worldwide recognition competing alongside 23 of the best chefs in the world on season one of Netflix’s “The Final Table.” 

To some, the two chefs might seem an odd couple. But to the two colleagues, it’s a collaboration built on mutual respect and a desire to create something new and exciting for Cream City diners. 

A meeting of the minds

Gallarday, who connected with Campbell on Instagram shortly after “The Final Table” aired in 2018, says the two quickly developed a rapport. It was a social media friendship which led not only to a collaborative dinner at Tavo’s last April, but a desire to work together in a more meaningful way.

“The goal is to bring something different to Milwaukee,” says Campbell, who has invested his time and energy into consulting for a variety of restaurants, including Makal, a concept in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where he currently resides. “I’m pulling from what I’ve learned over the course of my career to assist in not only creating something new in Milwaukee, but really shining a light on what Anthony [Gallarday] does.”

Gallarday says the partnership came along at an opportune time when he was zeroing in on his next steps.

“I’ve been looking at locations for another restaurant for two years,” says Gallarday. “For years, my goal has been to showcase Mexican food... to show people that there’s more to the cuisine. Along the way, I've worked alongside a variety of talented chefs. And now, with Orilla, I’ll have a new way to showcase my culinary skills in an entirely new way.”

A place to stretch boundaries

Google the Spanish word “orilla” and you’ll come upon a variety of meanings. At its simplest, it’s a word that refers to the land that lies in closest proximity to an ocean, sea, lake, river or ravine. But in English, it’s a word that can be translated many ways: as “bank” or “shore” or “edge” or “side.” 

And it’s both the beauty of the word as it rolls off the tongue – as well as its multi-faceted meaning – that made Gallarday and Campbell choose it as the moniker for their new project.

“To me, it’s about pushing the edge,” says Gallarday. “The edge of a river. The edge of a mountain. It’s about pushing the edges, pushing the boundaries.”

Campbell says the Orilla concept is built around the idea of creating an accessible dining experience that folks will remember. There will be great music, he says, a good atmosphere and well-executed food that defies a traditional label.

“The concept won’t be Mexican,” says Gallarday. “It won’t be New American. We’re not labelling it. We want the freedom to move beyond those boundaries.”

The vision includes a menu that offers diners a variety of options: two or three courses for casual nights out or a seven to 10 course tasting menu for more special occasions.

“Orilla will be nice. It’ll be classy,” says Campbell. But it won’t be pretentious. We want the focus to be on the food; that’s the purpose of a restaurant… the food, the experience. We want it to be a place where people can reconnect. 

“It’s really meant to cater to everyone, whether it’s a first date or a fortieth anniversary,” explains Campbell. “I don’t believe in fine dining. It’s exclusionary and it leaves too many people out. So this is going to be approachable, flexible. Something different.”

Gallarday says the heart and soul of the project is to contribute to the growing dining scene in Milwaukee. 

“I could have gone off and started a restaurant somewhere else,” he says. “We could have done this in another city. But, I grew up here, and this is an opportunity to contribute my part to making our city even better.”

For updates on the progress at Orilla, you can follow Anthony Gallarday, Graham Campbell and Orilla on Instagram. 

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.