When Vendetta Coffee Bar opened their Italian style cafe at 7613 W. State St. last July, it marked a first for the Milwaukee area, offering guests a taste of the traditional coffee houses found in cities across Italy.
And thanks to the success of their inaugural venture, partners Bill Haley, Tommy Orlando and Tommy Orlando Jr. are bringing a second – expanded version – of the cafe to Walker’s Point.
In fact, if all goes well, Vendetta Coffee Bar could open as soon as June in the space which formerly housed MOVIDA at 524 S. Second St. The space has most recently been used as an events venue by the Stand Eat Drink Hospitality group, which made the change during the early months of the pandemic.
Haley says the partners had been hoping to open a second location for Vendetta this year, and they’d looked at a number of properties in anticipation. But serendipity struck when Dieter Wegner popped into the Wauwatosa cafe and asked if they’d be interested in taking over the Walker’s Point location.
Haley says that all it took was a tour of the space to convince them it was the right move.
“When we walked in, we loved the front windows and all the natural light, as well as the fact that they open out to the sidewalk,” he says. “We also loved the cream city brick, high ceilings and loft, as well as the convenience of having a kitchen.”
What to expect
Haley says they’re currently enacting renovations to the space, including refacing the bar to bring it more closely in line with an Italian cafe aesthetic.
“The space was pretty rustic,” he says. “So, we’re refacing it to give it a clean new look, adding elements like white tile and a black countertop to give it a more European feel.”
As for the new kitchen, they plan to use it to expand the cafe’s offerings – which currently include coffee, Italian pastries, focaccia and panini – to include a variety of Italian appetizers, including items like fried olives and calamari.
The additions will assist as the new cafe leans solidly into the Italian tradition of aperitivo, during which folks gather and socialize over drinks and lighter fare as a warm-up before dinner.
“In Italy, you get your Campari spritz and you munch on salty snacks after work,” says Haley, noting that the new Vendetta Coffee Bar will also offer a cocktail menu, featuring Italian cocktails, including negroni and other libations that make use of Italian bitter liqueurs.
Guests will be able to enjoy those drinks, along with nibbles, during extended bar hours Thursday through Saturday.
Haley says he also expects to open up the lofted area in the space, not only to accommodate overflow in the cafe, but also for private events, including small bridal or baby showers and other gatherings.
Guests can also expect live music, which has become a much anticipated offering on Friday evenings at the Wauwatosa location.
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.