By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Apr 04, 2011 at 7:04 AM

Osteria del Mondo has garnered numerous awards, is one of Milwaukee best restaurants and is one of my all time favorites, but it’s time for it to move on. 

Owner Marc Bianchini (Osteria del Mondo, Indulge, Cubanitas and COA) said he’s closing his signature restaurant and exploring new locations for the eatery, which opened in 1994. 

The restaurant will remain open at 1028 E. Juneau Ave. through September but possibly through February 2012, depending on when the landlord secures an appropriate replacement.

"While the current location has served us extremely well for the past 16 years, dynamics in the restaurant business have changed and the current space doesn’t fully fit my vision for Osteria moving forward," said Bianchini, in a statement.

"We will be moving to a smaller, high-profile urban site to continue Osteria’s tradition of excellence." Osteria Del Mondo is one of Milwaukee’s most lauded restaurants, most recently named one of Zagat’s / USA Today’s top 25 hotel restaurants in the nation.

As I’ve written before, I would have my final meal at Osteria. So, I hope he finds a great, new location.  I've had many memorable meals at Osteria del Mondo: Easter brunch with family, anniversaries, birthdays, even a New Year's Eve.

I've dined there with about every person that I'm close with, including many who are no longer alive. The food is always amazing and there's Milwaukee history nearly dripping from the walls. Plus I love the tagliatelle verde al ragu.  So, for me, this location closing is a bit sad. 

Yet, as Bianchini told me in the past, Osteria has challenges in its current space (which he doesn’t own).  It’s outdated, has a very old kitchen and to redevelop it and make improvements as a tenant just doesn’t make sense.  So, he’s reached an agreement with the landlord to move on. 

The landlord for the current Knickerbocker space, Kira Kleynerman said that she's seeking a new tenant to replace Osteria.

"This space has been a Milwaukee restaurant cornerstone for 40 years -- first with Sally’s steakhouse and then with Osteria. This is a prime and easily identifiable location within an upscale residential area, thirsty for a great neighborhood restaurant." (Kleynerman noted, in a news release, that anyone interested in leasing information, can e-mail a request to

I know Marc personally and won’t be surprised when he retools and reopens a new signature restaurant.  I’ve always thought he should have a "Bianchini’s" in Milwaukee, so maybe that’s what’s next for Osteria.  For now, though, Milwaukee will miss Osteria del Mondo when it closes at the Knick.  We’ll keep you updated once a new location is announced. 

In other Bianchini news, construction is set to begin on a new Bianchini restaurant, the first outside the greater Milwaukee area, in Libertyville, Ill.

"Construction will begin in the next few weeks and the restaurant will open in late summer or early fall," said Bianchini.

For competitive reasons, Bianchini wouldn't disclose the specifics of the restaurant but assures that, "the Libertyville restaurant is an exciting new concept, something completely different from any of our existing properties."

In addition, Marc and Marta Bianchini will open a second Cubanitas restaurant "south of the border" in Illinois.  "We really think Cubanitas is primed for expansion," said Bianchini. "It’s very likely we could see a second Cubanitas within the next 18 months."

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.