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DiModa is open for business.

First Look: DiModa Pizza & Hotspot

In Italian, "di moda" means "fashionable" or "trendy," hence the owners of the new DiModa Pizza & Hotspot – which opened in the former Trocadero space this weekend – thought it was the ideal name for their concept.

"We love the space and didn't want to change the bones of the building, yet we wanted to energize it and make it a little more contemporary feeling," says co-owner Drew Deuster.

DiModa, 1758 N. Water St., is reminiscent of Trocadero – the exposed brick and dining room and (thankfully) the patio – are very similar.

"The patio is what sold us on the space originally and is one of our favorites in the city," says Deuster. "We're still planting and getting the fountain ready, but plan to keep it one of the focal points of DiModa."

However, DiModa features numerous changes and upgrades that allow the space to offer its own fresh personality including a reconfigured front bar, white "subway" tile, a second bar, a garage door that connects the patio to the eatery and an open-concept kitchen with a wood-burning pizza oven.

Made by the Wood Stone Corporation in Washington, the massive oven uses 100 percent wood for fuel and can reach 900 degrees. If need be, it can cook an entire pizza in 90 seconds. However, chef Mark Grimes keeps the oven a few degrees cooler and prefers to cook the pies in three-minute intervals.

"It was quite a task getting this installed, but now that it's in, I'm super happy about it," says Deuster.

DiModa offers a variety of medium-crust handmade pizzas, nine pasta dishes, five sandwiches, four entrees, salads, a dozen starters and desserts. There's also a kids' menu, gluten-free menu and a dog menu with "Scooby snacks," peanut butter gelato with pieces of crushed up dog treats and dog-friendly, chicken or beef flavored beer.

"The menu is a modern contemporary take on classic Italian dishes," says Deuster. "But we're a pizza place first."

Pizza toppings range from all of the classics to a margherita or a fig and prosciutto and cost between $12 and $15.

On weekends, DiModa offers brunch and the menu will include Trocadro favorites such as the Frenchie Bloody Mary and the breakfast burrito.

"We kept the things that people really loved at Trocadero on the DiModa menu," says Deuster.

The second floor of the building, which has been home to Red Star Cocktail Club and RedLight in the past, will be available for private parties and events or dining overflow.

Wild Planet Hospitality Group also owns McGillyCuddy's, The Brass Alley, Evo, Red Rock Saloon, The View at Evolution and the Lake House Bar & Grille in Kenosha.

Deuster, along with his partners JJ Kovacovich and Phil Erno, purchased the DiModa building three years ago. They originally ran the restaurant as Trocadero, but decided it was time for a change, especially with the addition of condominiums across the street.

"We lost our river view, but gained a lot of great, new neighbors," says Deuster. "It was time to change with the neighborhood."

Check out OnMilwaukee's Facebook Live with DiModa which includes pizza making (and eating):


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