A new tiki bar and restaurant is in the works for East Tosa at 6502 W. North Ave.
Plans for the space, which will be called Wauwatiki, include a tiki bar and restaurant serving scratch-cooked, island-style cuisine offering salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts. There will be a Wauwatiki burger, as well as other dishes like coconut shrimp.
Cocktails will include standard tiki drinks like mai-tais, as well as drinks featuring almost every spirit imaginable. Take-home Polynesian-style glasses will be part of the attraction, and discounts will be offered to those who reuse their glasses.
Renovations to the building will include the conversion of the current commercial space into a restaurant and cocktail lounge, featuring two full-service bar areas with seating and a wrap-around deck and patio space. The owners would also like to add an enclosed patio and fire pit. A huge tiki statue that doubles as a chair will be posted outside.
Alderman Joel Tilleson, who has assisted the owners in getting their plans up and running, says that the arrival of Wauwatiki marks another notch on the belt of the master plan to push growth further east on North Avenue.
"We’ve been able to breath new life into empty storefronts and dilapidated buldings," says Tilleson. "The arrival of bars and restaurants accomplish the goal of making this area into a destination. The increased foot traffic will attract additional retail establishments, and that’s what we’re going for."
Recent retail establishments include Cattywampus Design, a shop specializing in vintage and upcycled furniture at 6509 W. North Ave and Twirly Birds, a home goods and furnishings store which will be moving into the 6400 block of the avenue.
A neighborhood meeting held yesterday introduced the concept to area homeowners. Tilleson reports that the overall reception was supportive, with some concerns about parking and noise generated by the property. All concerns, he says, have been addressed by the tenants.
Financing on the building is still pending. However, Wauwatiki plans to be open seven days a week. The owners hope to open early this summer, June if possible.
Watch OnMilwaukee.com for updates regarding Wauwatiki's development.
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.