Silver Spring Drive could finally get the wining and dining it has been asking for over the last couple years.
Restaurateur Rose Niles approached village officials Tuesday night about opening a new wine and tapas bar at the space previously occupied by Cutters barbershop at 402 E. Silver Spring.
The restaurant would serve soups, paninis and some small plate options for lunch. For dinner, it would offer Italian food and Spanish small plate dishes, which have gained popularity in recent years. Niles said she also hopes to serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
"We want to create a warm, but still very trendy, atmosphere," Niles said. "Somewhere people can come in have a nice glass of wine or an import beer, and enjoy small plate dining."
Niles intends to apply for a liquor license to serve wine and beer. She also plans to sell bottles of wine and hold wine tastings. Niles said she does not yet have a name for the restaurant, but she is pushing to open the restaurant by March 1.
Niles' family ran the former Sardi's restaurant in Mequon for many years, and she said she may revive the Italian restaurant's popular spadinis into her new venture in Whitefish Bay. Her family also owns a frozen yogurt shop in Florida, where they vacation in the summer. Her husband Scott is the CEO of Seven Mile Fair outside of Racine.
Niles grew up in Shorewood and is a Dominican High School graduate. Although she now lives in New Berlin, she said Whitefish Bay would be a great place for a wine and tapas bar.
"I think the area could use an upscale dining place," she said.
The restaurant received its conditional use permit from the Plan Commission Tuesday night. Because the restaurant plans to stay open past 10 p.m., the Village Board will have to take a vote at its Dec. 3 meeting to allow expanded hours.
She will also need Village Board approval for her outdoor seating, which she hopes to wrap around the west side of the building. The seating plan would have to be consistent with The Mandel Group's plan to redesign the Consaul Commons walkway, where the clock tower is located.
"My guess is there is going to be some strong scrutiny as to where are you going to put the seating and what kind of seating," said Village Manager Patrick DeGrave. "If they do permit it, it's going to have to be high-end."
Niles said she is willing to "weather the storm" of construction on the proposed Mandel apartment development, which she said will be good for business because it will bring more people to Silver Spring Drive.