By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Aug 14, 2020 at 12:55 PM

Beginning next week, a Milwaukee chef will see his dream fulfilled and Bay View will have yet another worthy restaurant to enjoy.

Sorella is slated to open on Friday, Aug. 21 at 2535 S Kinnickinnic Ave. And it promises simple, elegant Italian dishes at an accessible price point in a casual, comfortable environment.

Sorella is a partnership between Chef Kyle Toner, former executive chef at Glass + Griddle and Wolf Peach and Paul Damora, whose front of house expertise was honed at venues including Glass + Griddle, Levy Restaurants and The Capital Grille. And the restaurant is the fruit of a collective vision for a neighborhood restaurant where folks can enjoy great food in a welcoming atmosphere.

"After 20 years in the hospitality industry I am thrilled to finally to have
a place to call my own," says Damora. "The effort and passion that has been poured into Sorella will be evident in every visit and every bite. We can’t wait to be part of our neighborhood and introduce a bit of Jersey Italian to Bay View."

The restaurant will open by reservation only with seating available on the restaurant’s well-appointed patio. Moving forward, the kitchen will also implement carry-out with alley-side pick-up just behind the restaurant.

Toner, who acknowledges that this is a tough time to open a new restaurant, says he feels good about their plans.

A beautiful outdoor patio space makes this so much better," he says. "Diners feel safer, staff feels safer, and overall it’s just a win."

When patio season is over, Toner says they will convert to the use of their spacious indoor dining room, which can easily accommodate 45 socially distanced guests. The restaurant’s open lay-out and high ceilings contribute to their ability to provide a safer environment for dining guests.

"I'm beyond excited to be cooking and sharing the food I love to make and eat," says Toner. "The icing on the cake – or pepperoni on the pizza – is doing it in the neighborhood I've lived in since moving here eight years ago."

On the menu

On the Sorella menu, guests will find a mix of appetizers, salads, pastas, pizzas and entrees at a moderate  price point.

Starters include fried bites including arancini carbonara, traditional fried rice balls with guanciale, pecorino, egg and black pepper; along with antipasti like roasted broccoli with apricots, chilies and almonds; and mussels stuffed with garlic and herbed breadcrumbs. 

Pastas will include options like Fusilli with ‘Monday Sauce’ (broken meatball, sausage and pork ragu) and ricotta; spaghetti alla nerano with zucchini, provolone and basil; and rigatoni alla vodka with spinach.

Meanwhile, the wood-fired pizzas – which are likely to conjure fond memories of Toner's tenure at Wolf Peach –  will be available with a variety of toppings including  classic margherita; the Fra Diavolo with bacon, oregano, percorino, garlic and hot peppers; mushroom with roasted garlic cream, marjoram and dried tomatoes and norma with mozzarella, eggplant, ricotta salata and basil. 

Meanwhile entrees will focus on the seasons with options like New York strip with salsa verde, roasted half-chicken with lemon, herbs and pecorino and market fish with garlic, parsley salmoriglio and lemon.

Toner, who has looked forward to opening his own restaurant for years says the timing for Sorella could have been better, but he has no regrets.

"COVID-19 aside, it’s been well worth the wait," says Toner. "I’ve been here long enough that I know a lot more about the city and we found a great space that really fit what we wanted to do. So, yes. I’m excited."

Beginning Aug. 21, Sorella will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m. Reservations are required and will be available at Open Table or by phone at (414) 301-6255.

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.