By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Oct 09, 2012 at 2:58 PM

For the sixth straight year, October is Dining Month on, presented by Concordia University. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2012."

Anyone who's worked in a restaurant knows that their co-workers can comprise a pretty creative bunch. It's not a myth that lots of artists, photographers, musicians, actors and writers underwrite their life's work with the tips left on a table full of dirty dishes.

Two local restaurants are saluting the talent on their staffs this season with a three-month exhibit.

You can check out the work of four photographers, Megan Peters, Kathleen Hamilton, Heidi Spencer and Jamie Gellings – three of whom work at the restaurants – at Transfer Pizzeria Cafe, 101 W. Mitchell St., and VIA Downer, 2625 N. Downer Ave., through Jan. 13.

The show is called "side work" and the photographers shot more than 7,000 images of their co-workers and their workplaces over 10 months in preparation for the exhibition.

Co-owner John Rossetto says the idea came from his admiration and that of his co-owners Russell Rossetto and Krys Zielinski, for the artistic skills of their employees.

"Our teams are among the most creative people we’ve ever met," says John Rossetto. "Outside of work they are artists, students, community activists, entrepreneurs, musicians, actors, and photographers. They bring the same passion to their work with us as with their own endeavors, and we wanted to showcase that."

The exhibition kicks off on Thursday, Oct. 11 with an private preview party at 9 p.m. at VIA Downer. After that, the work will hang in both restaurants  – different work at each, of course – for three months.

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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.