By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 21, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Two of Milwaukee's best-known fish and culinary-related businesses are partnering on a new project.

Sweet Water Organics, an urban fish and vegetable farm in Bay View, and Empire Fish, the area's largest distributor of fresh seafood, will work together to bring fresh perch fillets to the local market. The partnership will, in the words of a joint statement, "revive access to a lost local fare."

"Partnering with a company like Empire makes sense for us because we both recognize the importance of sustainable aquaculture," says Todd Leech, sales manager for Sweet Water Organics.

"They are committed to providing their customers with great fresh products and we are confident in their ability to represent Sweet Water's fish to a larger audience."

Sweet Water will raise the fish and provide it to Empire each week to distribute to local restaurants and retail outlets, including Empire's own store in Wauwatosa.

A number of area restaurants -- including La Merenda, Coquette Cafe, Sanford, and Cafe Metro in the Hotel Metro -- have apparently already expressed interest in buying the perch.

"We firmly support (Sweet Water's) efforts to bring sustainable aquaculture to our area and we welcome the opportunity to partner with (Sweet Water) long into the future," said Dan Ryan, Empire's general manager and fresh seafood buyer.

"We've (been) educating people about the need to support sustainable seafood for many years now and are glad to have another partner in the fight."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.