Wauwatosa Village is its own complete little world, offering everything one could need. And if you're lucky enough to live nearby on one of its leafy green streets, it's all within walking distance.
Here's your one-stop guide to dining, drinking and shopping in the heart of Wauwatosa Village.
(PHOTO: Arte Bar & Painting Lounge Facebook)
Arte Bar & Painting Lounge
1442 Underwood Ave., (414) 810-6095
Not actually a shop, Arte is a fun way to pass the time with friends, making your own artwork while you sip on some cabernet or chardonnay. Kids are welcome, too, but no wine for them!
7505 Harwood Ave., (414) 453-1300
Dr. Mark Veth's optometry office also retails a variety of frame lines and, let's face it, has one of the better names for a business of its kind.
The Flower Lady
1417 Underwood Ave., (414) 259-0999
Now in a larger and higher-profile location – the stunning former home of Robertson's Hardware – The Flower Lady (aka Deb Fowler) has fresh flowers and wide range of gifts and home decor items.
7609 Harwood Ave., (414) 456-9211
Cindy Hein offers custom jackings, handbags, shearlings and more in her downtown Tosa leather shop.
The Little Read Book
7603 W. State St., (414) 774-2665
Indie booksellers may be disappearing at an alarming rate, but Tosa's Little Read Book has endured on State Street thanks to its warm, intimate shop, its curated selection – including a great array of local interest titles – and knowledgeable staff.
Magpie Jewelry & Metals Studio
7613 Harwood Ave., (414) 771-8021
Since 2000, Kristen Fogtman-Faust, Terese Millmann and Christopher Stephens have collaborated on this shop that carries gifts and jewelry and specializes in custom pieces by a wide variety of artists.
(PHOTO: Niemann's Candies Facebook)
Niemann’s Candies and Ice Cream
7475 Harwood Ave., (414) 774-4940
Niemann's has been around since 1919 and if you make only one stop during your visit to Tosa Village, this had better be the one. Delicious and historic. Try the almond butter crunch, which is a beloved specialty.
Oro di Oliva
7606 Harwood Ave., (414) 256-8066
In addition to an unmatched selection of fine olive oils and vinegars from around the globe, Oro di Oliva sells accessories, like oil misters, pour spouts and more.
Phase 2 Skateshop
7346 W. State St., (414) 272-3707
Born on the East Side in 1985, Phase 2 is now located in the Village and sells a full complement of skateboards, longboards, shoes and accessories.
7532 W. State St., (414) 259-0970
Salamander is a contemporary women's clothing boutique that also carries accessories, jewelry and shoes.
Soaps & Scents
7600 Harwood Ave., (414) 771-2228
Since 1984, Soaps & Scents has carried items for bath, body, hair, hands, home, laundry, shaving and skin care. You'll also find essential oils, greeting cards and candles.
The Spice House/Wauwatosa Village Seasoning
1244 Glenview Ave., (414) 258-7727
The best-smelling business in town, the no-frills Spice House has the best selection of fresh spices and herbs in town. Prepare to spend some time snooping and selecting.
1348 Wauwatosa Ave., (414) 476-6522
Three generations of the Swan family have run this furniture and interior design business in Tosa Village since 1948. More than sofas and chairs, Swan also sells plumbing fixtures, rugs, window treatments, accessories and more.
Tosa Farmers Market
Hart's Mills Parking Lot
Saturdays, 8 a.m. until noon, in season
Saturday mornings, from 8 a.m. until noon, in season – which generally runs from the start of June until mid-October, the Tosa Farmers Market offers fresh produce, prepared foods, crafts, live music and more. It's always hopping and is a great destination for your morning walk.
7602 Harwood Ave., (414) 257-2770
This contemporary women's clothing boutique also carries jewelry, vegan and leather handbags and more.
The Village Cheese Shop
1430 Underwood Ave., (414) 488-2099
Sabina Magyar opened this cheese emporium in summer 2017, after having worked at Thief Wine and Glorioso's, among others. Magyar (pictured below in her shop) carries artisanal and farmstead cheeses from around the globe, including, of course, from right here in Wisconsin. There is also a selection of wine, gift boxes, catered cheese trays, cheesemaking classes and more.
(PHOTO: Lori Fredrich)
Food & Drink
Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co.
7471 Harwood Ave., (414) 930-0469
Anodyne's Tosa outpost is a warm and cozy coffee spot with tables out back for relaxing summer days and on the sidewalk for some fabulous people watching. Of course, there's indoor seating, too, and, if you're lucky, you can grab one of the coveted bar spots for your morning joe or evening brew.
7700 Harwood Ave., (414) 271-7700
A sister restaurant to Cafe Hollander (see below), with which is shares some of its riverside patio, Cafe Bavaria has a German theme (natch), including pretzels, schnitzel, spatzle, sausages and more, served alongside some top-notch German beer. Brunch is served on weekends from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
7677 W. State St., (414) 475-6771
This Tosa outpost of the local Hollander chain opens early seven days a week for breakfast and Sunday brunch and is open late as a bar, too. Enjoy your meal in the dining room or outdoors (in season) along the river. Expect a wide selection of European beers. And kids will like watching the trains go by.
7342 W. State St., (414) 476-3070
Treat yourself to a wide selection bar food – appetizers, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and Friday fish fry – while catching the game on one of 10 plasma screen TVs. Wings are just 35 cents each on Thursdays.
Firefly Urban Bar & Grill
7754 Harwood Ave., (414) 431-1444
Firefly's menu features appetizers, sandwiches and entrees from its wood-burning grill and smoker, as well as microburgers, fondue and crunch salad. Don't miss out on the s'mores for dessert, which you get to make at table with a cute little personal grill. The front room is more family friendly and the more dimly lit back bar and dining room is better suited to romantic interludes and late-night parties.
7118 W. State St., (414) 258-5600
This long-lived State Street bar is also the best Mexican restaurant in Tosa, serving enchiladas, fajitas, quesadillas and more, with a good variety of vegetarian options. Hector's margaritas are also among the city's most beloved.
Leff's Lucky Town
7208 W. State St. (414) 258-9886
The food is good (wings!) and the beer is cold. But, Leff's – located in a historic building that once housed a silent movie theater and a shoe store that hid a Prohibition speakeasy in back, is like a corner bar, albeit a pretty big one. Especially after owner Chris Leffler atook over an old gas station next door to build a second dining room and bar, and a patio that offers outdoor dining, in season.
Desserts at Le Reve.
Le Reve Patisserie & Cafe
7610 Harwood Ave., (414) 778-3333
Le Reve is a French-style patisserie and cafe in the heart of downtown 'Tosa that serves pastries, sandwiches, salads, crepes and coffee. Some of the best desserts on tap in the area can be found here. Belly up to the bar for a 1664, or a latte and a macaron or two.
Lucky Joe's Alchemy & Eatery
1425 Underwood Ave.
A small menu of entrees includes sliders, Burgundy glazed chicken, triple mushroom risotto, slow-braised lamb stew, is amplified with a selection of small plates, salads and desserts in an intimate setting. There are also some great craft cocktails on offer.
7470 W. State St., (414) 257-2577
Individual, made-on-demand (hence MOD), super-fast 11-inch pizzas are ready in minutes at this chain founded in Seattle in 2008. More than 30 toppings to choose from, plus there are also salads, garlic strips and cinnamon strips.
7606 W. State St., (414) 443-0800
Bartolotta's pizzeria is more casual than its neighbor (see below). Order your pizza downstairs and head upstairs to claim a table while your Neapolitan-style 'za is cooking in the wood-fired oven. There's also a nice patio next door, offering live music when the weather cooperates.
7616 W. State St., (414) 771-7910
Ristorante Bartolotta remains for many the jewel in the crown of the food group that it launched from this location – originally a Pabst tied house – serving hearty, northern Italian-inspired cuisine. For some – including me – this is, hands down, Milwaukee's best Italian restaurant.
The Ruby Tap
1341 Wauwatosa Ave., (414) 456-1300
A wide range of wine is available at this Tosa Village hotspot that allows patrons to pour their own tipples from automatic wine dispensers. But don't pass up the tasting menu, which offers delicious cheeses, meats and small plates to enhance your wine-tasting experience. The few outdoor tables are much in-demand on warm evenings.
Stone Creek Coffee
7594 Harwood Ave., (414) 204-8390
Opened in 2017, Stone Creek's Harwood Avenue location is just a block west of the Village and is a great place for a cuppa. There's a patio out front for when the weather's nice, too.
Yo Mama! Frozen Yogurt
1349 N. Wauwatosa Ave., (414) 988-5365
It's yogurt, and it's delicious, but Yo Mama! is a serve-yourself place and if you're not careful, you might have to roll yourself home after enjoying some of the sweet, yummy goodness, topped, of course, with candy, syrups, nuts and all manner of other treats.
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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.