By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Feb 13, 2024 at 11:04 AM

There’s a new sub shop and deli coming to the Renaissance Building in the Historic Third Ward. 

In fact, owner Joena Vitale says that Third Coast Gourmet is planning for a mid to late March opening at 309 N. Water St. That's the former home of The Home Market, which moved to 151 S. 1st St.

The former accountant spent much of her career working for Yacht Clubs; but she says that, in recent years, she’s been focused on opening her own restaurant. 

“I’m Italian and I’ve always loved to cook,” she says. “I’ve always had an herb garden and have always made things fresh. So we spent a long time testing out various ingredients and composing our menu of sandwich combinations with an emphasis on fresh and local ingredients.”

The Rennaissance BuildingX

What to expect

Vitale says that Third Coast will be an exclusive provider for Boar’s Head meats and cheeses at the shop, which will also serve as a deli where guests can purchase meats and cheeses by the pound. Sciortino Bakery will provide bread for the shop’s subs, and a mini market will feature a cooler filled with dairy products like butter, eggs and sour cream along with a variety of shelf-stable provisions like honey, barbeque sauces, spices and spice blends.

“Our goal is to create something different,” says Vitale, who says she worked with Reflective Contracting Services to give the new counter service sandwich spot an upscale coastal theme. 

The color theme will focus on shades of green with contrast from natural wood, including a cedar service counter edged in black. The kitchen in the space, she says, will be open concept so that guests can see the food being prepared. 

Meanwhile, the dining area in the shop will feature artwork from Shanda Louis Pearce of Alchemy Artisan Works, plus menus and other branded items designed by Richard Pearce of Kwidsin.  A meeting room, complete with AV capabilities including a television screen, will also be available to be reserved for meetings and small gatherings.

Vitale says that the sense of “difference” she aims to create at Third Coast extends to her employees, who she says she views like a big family. “I want folks to be invested in the business when they are here, to have it mean something to them. And I also want them to be able to go home and have a life outside of Third Coast.”

On the menu

The gourmet sub shop will offer a menu of hearty 8-inch subs, along with a selection of wraps, salads (red cabbage salad; chopped salad), soups (Italian wedding soup and soup of the day) and charcuterie boards featuring Boar’s Head products. All sandwiches can be made into bowls for no additional charge. 

Cleverly named sandwiches, priced in the $12-$15 range, will include options like The Capone (Genoa salami, capicola, provolone, red onions, Roma tomato, artichoke hearts, romaine, Italian seasoned oil and Third Coast seasoning); and the To the Moon Roast Beef (London broil, Swiss cheese, tomato, white onion, artisan lettuce, mayo with horseradish or mustard and Third Coast seasoning).

Wraps will include the Tuscan Veggie (cheddar, provolone, spinach, artichoke hearts, red onion, tomato, garlic oil and spices in a wrap or on a ciabatta roll); and the Island Turkey Wrap (cajun turkey breast, aged cheddar, mango salsa, artisan lettuces; spices; chipotle mayo). 

Guests can also look forward to the Prime of Your Life (shaved prime rib, Swiss cheese, Milaeger’s micro greens and “Gusteau” sauce on a brioche bun.

Frites, including regular, sweet potato and truffle will also be available along with items like mini doughnuts and crepes. Beverages will include Stone Creek coffee, wheatgrass shots (using Milaeger’s wheatgrass), milk, juice, craft soda, and a rotating selection of both beer and wine. 

Guests can also look forward to specials, including limited edition salads and special charcuterie and cheese offerings. On Sundays, Vitale will offer hot ham and rolls along with a special bloody mary bar.

Vitale says she also plans to introduce a variety of other events for customers including wine and beer tastings; painting and wine sessions; yoga followed by mimosas and charcuterie; and live music on Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Third Coast Gourmet will also offer catering, including ready-made lunch box options.

Once open, Third Coast Gourmet’s hours are likely to be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Vitale says she expects to host live music on Wednesday and Friday with extended hours until 9 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.