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New Wine and Tapas Bar Coming to Whitefish Bay

After receiving village approval, the aspiring restaurant owner now sets her sights on opening in the former Cutter's barbershop by March 1.

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.

Absolutelyfabulous November 21, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Good luck, though I believe Nehrings tried a Wine & Tapas in Shorewood on Oakland Ave in 2 separate locations, one after the other. I associate a wine & tapas location w/ more of a downtown/singles early evening/happy hour crowd vs the family oriented, everyone sits down for dinner @ 6 pm crowd that dominates WFB and the adjacent suburbs. That is, if/when the parents have made it home from the office and/or are not shuffling between /attending one or more childrens activities. There may be a lot of parents w/ some time during the day to squeeze in a glass of wine, as they do on their Starbucks runs, but I don't think that smelling like alcohol when potentially picking up a child will fly so well. Mandel may be building a 100 unit complex right next door, but that's not enough to sustain a business. Also, since I do not know the 1st thing w/ regard to wine & spirits, I don't know how Sendiks, 1 block down, would compete w/ their own wine offerings & price points on the bottled stuff. I can see being able to purchase and take home to be more appealing to an older crowd (Mandel's target renters)for personal use or entertaining vs buying a glass & appetizers at the restaurant on a regular basis. Will Mandel put up resistance to having patrons sitting outside/near the windows of tenants who will be paying a premium to live in hsi development? What about noise into the evening or the potential for cigarette/cigar smoke et al to make it's way in through ones window?
wfbmom November 21, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I think a place geared toward adults only (there are lots of us in the Bay who have older kids and like good food & wine) is EXACTLY what WFB needs! Quit being such a downer...it isn't even in place yet and you're fabricating reasons for these people to walk away from this! If they have good food, a nice atmosphere and decent service they'll make it. Those essentials were lacking at Berkeley's and El Guapo.
Absolutelyfabulous November 22, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Take it anyway you want it. That's the way I see it. One persons comments aren't going to make or break a business. You've also had a liquor store, a ham store, a Heinemans and so forth and so on. We'll see. Also, what's very different than what is happening on the north end of Oakland in Shorewood is that there are multiple restaurants next to each other all drawing in traffic and people whereas in that little strip not much is open later into the evening. So, enjoy your glass of wine, but if they think they are going to make it soley on tapas & wine, I think they will be gone in 18 months or less. Better yet, want to put some $ on it? I'm game..I don't wish for anyone to fail, but I think they need more and as I stated in my previous post, they seem like they are going to be flexible on what they will be offering. And yes, I personally do think Mandel might have concerns, especially since the municipal parking will be below the highest priced apartments in the North Shore. One does have to be concerned about noise whether it be from cars/people traveling to/from and outside noise into the evening w/ people sitting outside. On the slip side, will Fitzgeralds & Ruhama's be sold and remodeled for a business that draws people and into the evening hours as well and possibly combining both spaces? Enjoy
Cricket November 22, 2012 at 04:02 AM
I think this could work if properly planned. As mentioned above there are a lot of empty nesters that would like a place within a short drive or walking distance in Whitefish Bay. Theres money to spend there. The key is quality. Tapas to me means appetizers or hor dourves, not a meal. It seems WFB is always hung up on the liquor thing too. There no reason to not have several liquor serving dining places around there. With the movie theater, not everyone wants to eat in there while they watch a movie and might like a place to go before or after a show. City Market is fine but it is --- City Market. And Absolutelyfab - I agree with most of your posts, you are usually on target but I'd like to think the Mandel Group didn't have a strong hold on everything in the North Shore but perhaps they do.
Marvin Mason November 22, 2012 at 01:00 PM
I find this to be exciting news! I wish them much success and I will do my part to help. The building owner and the village should also do their parts in helping this new business prosper. It takes a village.
Bob McBride November 22, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Hope this works out. Too bad they couldn't move into the old Berkeley's and El Guapo location, as it seems a bit more conducive to a restaurant. The owner has previous experience (something I'm not sure was the case with the two afore mentioned establishments) and some other sources of income to fall back on, which may help them ride out some tough spots, should those occur. Timing could be right with the Mandel project moving forward. If the quality and service are there, that alone should give them a leg up over what failed in the past and what's not exactly setting the world on fire currently.
Absolutelyfabulous November 22, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I think another concern would be how would this outdoor seating area look or better yet, how much $$ would be put into chairs/tables/umbrellas. The Shorewood and Lakefront Alterra's outdoor seating areas look great and they don't come cheap. I would have a hard time believing that plastic chairs and tables would be acceptable and is this something that needs to be addressed on what would be allowed. Now, I'm not saying that would be the plan, but if you have a luxury development next door and the area proposed for outdoor seating for this business is right in the path of access to the apartment/future condos then it needs to be tasteful and of quality as well.
aaaaaa November 22, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I agree with WFBMom above - quit being a "downer" - what world do some people live in that they can't balance a social life AND children? If you don't take time out to meet up with some friends or go on a "date" with your spouse you may regret it some day. If it is good, people will come - I know WE will. And, I will come with girlfriends, my spouse, and yes, my kids. I am excited to support this new place!
Absolutelyfabulous November 22, 2012 at 02:46 PM
That's 5 people so far. BTW, a business potentially operates from 9 am til 2 am. If the only offerings are wine & tapas, then I think there will be some very long periods of down time. Though, if there is down time ie the space is empty or there are just a couple of people nursing their drink, one still has to pay the employees, heat/cool the space/cover rent/insurance etc Now, as one potentially "adds" more offerings their intial costs/investment into a restaurant space goes up, up & up. WHY? I'll tell you. Depending on what types of food one offers as well as how it's cooked determines the equipment that will be necessary by code. No way around it. Cooking anything on a grill/stove will most likely require a hood and how big ones stove is determines the size of the hood. Commercial hoods start @$1,000 per linear foot to install. That's right, if I have an 8 foot hood, then the hood alone is going to run at least $8,000 to install along with everything else. Also, foods have to be stored and what you plan on serving also dictates what types/sizes of cooling ie fridge/freezers one needs. AND so forth and so on. Everything, including sinks, their sizes as well as placement is determined by what the offerings will be as well as all the plumbing/drains. Opening up a floor to install drains/grease traps is expensive. It's an equation. Restaurants have the highest failure rate in the industry. What the business offers will affect the investment needed.
Absolutelyfabulous November 22, 2012 at 03:05 PM
So, what I am getting at is I don't believe that just wine & tapas will sustain this operation. If they are to draw people in throughout the day and into the evening they need to expand their offerings. What would those be? Then what, if any additional costs are associated and is the operator willing to make those investments? So, I will stand by what I said before that if only wine & tapas are the offerings, then I think it will follow the same course as all the others of recent years. So, no, I'm not being a "Downer" And yes, I believe that they will need the outdoor seating to make venture a success in addition to everything else because depending on what is offered determines what/how much equipment is necessary which eats into the space/seats available for paying customers. Got it?
Bob McBride November 22, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Fortunately there's no law that states that if you open as a wine and tapas place you have stick to wine and tapas if it appears you would benefit by adjusting the offerings. If they do expand their menu, rearrange the layout, change the decor, go with outside seating or decide against it in order to meet the demands of the clientele in the area, they'd be following a long line of successful restaurants who've done all those things. And since these people appear to have some experience in the restaurant business, I'm guessing they understand that going into it. At this point concerns about their potential demise are extremely premature. If worse comes to worse they've got some experience in the fro-yo market to fall back on. We're all in on fro-yo in the Bay.
aaaaaa November 22, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Read above - it also says Italian food NOT just tapas. AND soups, etc. for lunch AND brunch.
Absolutelyfabulous November 22, 2012 at 05:41 PM
wfb51- You need to get a grip. Seriously, I don't wish for anything to fail. I have no vested interest other than replying to a blog in between other things. You & yours have not supported so many other ventures in that little section that I hope that you back up your statements w/your wallets and that the offerings are good. It will only help in attracting that many more prospective tenants/offerings. Now, I remember reading the story about how great ThinkToys was for that little strip and then bye, bye..You didn't support the sales of the storefront. Dan Katz didn't even have to pay rent and Lixx was pretty decent. Open your wallets and support this business and not just when it opens it's doors. Time will tell. Back to the garden.
aaaaaa November 23, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Actually I DID support Berkeleys - as bad as it was........I also support and/or buy gifts at Winkies, Fitz',Fox Bay, Sendiks, Three Wishes, Brueggers and the froyo place. I WILL support a place if I like it (I didn't even like Berkeleys - LOL)....Huh? strange you keep saying "you" when I have fully supported places I like. AS for getting a grip I was just correcting your statement that they are only serving wine and tapas - they have other items they will be offering.
Santa Monica Guy December 08, 2012 at 01:50 AM
absolutelyfabulous, please stop talking.
Absolutely Annoyed December 15, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Absolutely Fabulous is Absolutely Idiotic. The restaurant isn't even built and she's bankrupting them with unbudgeted for grease traps and fume hoods. She's criticizing the non-existent plastic chairs and cheap umbrellas. And, oh, the noise this restaurant that isnt there yet causes. I beg you to sit on your hands and stop typing. Please. Leave the restaurant you've never been to and know nothing about alone. What do you have against small plates? Were you beaten with tapas as a child? Don't the non-stuffed shirts of this community deserve a place to eat, too?

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