Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant has been serving its beloved pizzas and Italian fare from its location at 2995 S. Clement Ave. in Bay View since 2003. But thanks to a new commercial kitchen space, the restaurant has plans to expand its carryout, delivery and catering services.
Frank Tenuta says the restaurant has been looking for added kitchen space for the past three or four years. Initially, he says he hoped to find a location that would accommodate both a catering kitchen and banquet space; but when the opportunity to purchase the former Milwaukee Smoked BBQ building at 3902 S. Whitnall Ave. arose, he says he decided he should refocus his energy on adding new kitchen space.
"Our kitchen here at the restaurant is tiny," he says, "And on busy nights, we’re often turning away customers, even for carryout. So our hope is that we can alleviate some of that and really give people a better overall experience."
The new building, which provides an additional 880 square feet of space, will be equipped with pizza ovens along with a new prep kitchen where staff can prepare catering orders and dishes for carry-out and delivery.
Tenuta says he plana to start off slowly, but he anticipates that Tenuta’s To Go menu will include the full selection of Tenuta’s pizzas, dishes like lasagna and chicken parmesan, a number of sandwiches (Italian beef, meatball, sausages, vegetarian options) and a selection of salads and appetizers.
He says they’ll begin by offering delivery services in Bay View and St. Francis, but could expand those services using third parties like GrubHub or DoorDash if warranted. Carry-out is expected to be available at both the restaurant and new location.
"This will be something new for everyone," admits Tenuta, noting that the restaurant has never offered delivery before. "And we’re expecting there to be a learning curve during our transition. But we should be able to work everything out."
Tenuta says he’s currently working with the city to rezone the property for its new use. He also has plans to repaint the building’s exterior, hang signage and add landscaping to give the location a bit more curb appeal. If all goes as planned, he says he expects to be operational as soon as the end of May.
Once the new location is up and running, he Tenuta’s To Go will offer both carry-out and delivery services Monday through Thursday from 3 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
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.