By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published May 26, 2021 at 10:01 AM

The Milwaukee area’s first Italian style cafe is on the docket for a classic bar space in the Wauwatosa Village.

In fact, if all goes as planned, Vendetta Coffee Bar is slated to open this summer  at 7613 W. State St. in the former home of the Del Monte Bar. 

Behind the new cafe are partners Bill Haley, Tommy Orlando and Tommy Orlando Jr., friends who, over time, shared a dream to contribute to Milwaukee’s thriving coffee scene with a cafe unlike any currently in the market.

“Tommy has had a dream to own a cafe for probably ten years,” says Haley, “And the more I traveled, the more I was drawn to the European-style cafes, which embrace the notion of enjoying the moment, whether it’s standing at the espresso bar or sitting on a sidewalk patio.”

Guests will be able to do both at the new Wauwatosa cafe (or “bar” as they would call it in Italy) which will focus on high quality Italian espresso drinks made in the traditional way with custom-blended espresso, as well as specialty drinks inspired by those at prominent cafes in Italy.

“We’ll have imported Italian pastries,” he says, “Along with desserts and scratch-made coffee syrups made by Chef Travis Martinez of Sugar Studio.”

The cafe will also feature a small curated selection of Italian wines and locally brewed beer.

As for the name, Haley says they chose the Italian word "vendetta" for the way it rolled off the tongue. "It also captures the aggressive way we’re going after the taste and feel of an Italian cafe."

Haley says the partners originally looked for a location for the cafe in Bay View. But when George Flees, vice president of restaurant operations for DeRosa Restaurants suggested they take a look at the former bar space in Wauwatosa, they were sold.

"The Village of Tosa has this really great European feel,” says Haley. “And the space with its ornate wood bar is just perfect for what we envisioned.”

Once open, the cafe is expected to keep hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week and hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. 

Watch OnMilwaukee for additional details as the concept comes to fruition.

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.