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Aliota's is closed.
Aliota's is closed.

T.J. Aliota's appears closed

T.J. Aliota's, 261 W. Hampton Ave., appears to have closed. The phone was disconnected and the "smoking tent" which was erected behind the building about a year ago was taken down.

A sign that reads "closed for remodeling" is on the door, but there is no sign of activity. I asked a passerby, and she found the sign to be suspicious because the bar had already remodeled recently.

Aliota's was a family-owned and operated sports bar with a Friday fish fry that opened in the '80s.

Stay tuned to for more information when it becomes available to me.

Bob Watt on the job at home.
Bob Watt on the job at home. (Photo: J. Shimon & J. Lindemann)

Good-bye, Bob Watt

I had only been a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for a few weeks when I was approached by a portly, grey-haired man with black-rimmed glasses and a brimmed hat. I was drinking a cup of coffee in the student union and he sat next to me, holding a stack of photographs.

I don't remember what he said exactly, but I remember the photos were snapshots of women posing nude. They were clearly amateur, both the models and the photos, and as I flipped through them I thought, "What a pervey old man."

He then handed me a business card and said he paid girls up to $20 an hour to pose for his art. I thought about it for a few seconds. I needed the money and I liked the rebellious, naughty nature of it, but ultimately decided it was just a little too bizarre, even for me.

Little did I know, at the time, that man was Bob Watt, a local icon, poet and painter – perhaps Milwaukee's original Beat – and someone I would come in contact with again and again for the next 20 years of my life.

Watt passed away this week from heart failure at the age of 87.

Born in 1925, Watt was raised in Manitowoc County. He moved to Milwaukee in 1951 where he became known as a controversial outsider artist and poet. Most of his poetry was crass and his paintings were predominantly folky portraits of Native Americans that pop up all over town, from friend's flats to antique shops. I saw him at countless art openings and Gallery Nights over the years, and sometimes he acknowledged me and sometimes he didn't.

I don't know if Watt ever married or had children. But I do know now that there was nothing special about Watt offering me a business card. Turns out, he gave out thousands of business cards, starting in the '60s, and that he also advertised regularly for models in alternative newspapers.

I spent a lot of time performing poetry in coffee shops during college, and so I was often in the same space with him. I was never quite sure what to make of his w…

Berry Me now has a living room space to cozy up the place.
Berry Me now has a living room space to cozy up the place.

The scoop on Berry Me Frozen Yogurt

In July, I reported that Berry Me Frozen Yogurt and Cafe opened at 1320 E. Brady St. In November, Sam and Geeta Patel took over the business and have brought new ideas and products to the yogurt shop and cafe.

"We are a self-serve frozen yogurt shop that provides our customers a healthy and customized treat that they have created. Our promise is to give our customers exactly what they want and how much they want," says Geeta.

Berry Me now has an additional seating area and a fireplace, creating a more inviting atmosphere. They also added even more toppings for the frozen yogurt and now serve fruit smoothies and Ghiradelli hot cocoa.

Soon, Berry Me will sell gourmet chocolates, too. For Valentine's Day, Berry Me will offer chocolate bouquets and they are now taking orders. Starting Jan. 7, every customer who buys frozen yogurt will get a raffle ticket to possibly win a chocolate bouquet. The winner will be picked on Feb. 8.

"Let Berry Me bury you with goodness – that is what we believe in," says Geeta.

New store hours are Monday-Friday from 2 to 10 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Ink 101 owners Alex Trevino and Phil Constantineau.
Ink 101 owners Alex Trevino and Phil Constantineau.

Ink 101 tattoo shop / gallery opening in Third Ward

A new tattoo shop and art gallery, Ink 101, will open within a week in the Third Ward, 240 N. Milwaukee St., Suite 101. Jeanerations was previously in this space.

The shop will have four tattoo artists to start with, along with piercing services, clothing (Sullen, Hardnox, etc.) and post-tattoo skin care products by H2Ocean.

Ink 101 co-owners Alex Trevino and Phil Constantineau had a business relationship before: Constantineau gave Trevino many tattoos at his former tattoo shop, Original Brew City Tattoo Co., 4243 W. Lisbon Ave.

The two decided to partner up and open an art-focused tattoo shop in the Third Ward. The space features an art gallery and they plan to take part in Third Ward Gallery Night events.

"It goes beyond tattoos for us. We live and breathe art," says Constantineau.

The upscale space, commitment to art and involvement in neighborhood events reminds me of when Adambomb, now on MLK Drive, was located on 2nd St. in the Industri Cafe space.

Constantineau, originally from Miami, later moved to Albuquerque, N.M. He started practicing tattooing at the age of 13 on grapefruits and chicken breasts, and gave his first real tattoo at the age of 17. Constantineau's mother lives in Milwaukee and he now considers it his home, too.

Ink 101 will also house two movie lounges featuring seating and large screens. The lounges will provide comfortable waiting space for clients' friends and family. Plus, the screens are visible to the person getting a tattoo so she or he can have a distraction if need be. The lounges will also serve as a place for the tattoo artists to unwind in between tattoos.

"It's a place for them to clear their minds after giving their clients 100 percent of their focus," says Constantineau.