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Main Drag Diner
North Avenue Grill's new owner, and an East Side digs' return to Italian fare.

New Future
The owner-folks at North Avenue Grill (7225 W. North Ave.) are posting some of their last Facebook messages. Jon Anne Willow and Patti Wenzel are giving up the restaurant they opened last April, selling it to longtime John’s Sandwich Shop cook Mike Topolovich. The latter takes over this Tosa diner on Monday, Jan. 14. Once the papers are sign, Topolovich will commence creating his version of the classic American diner. He plans to close the place for a few weeks to make changes to the kitchen and work on his menu. The name will stay. The menu will fill out, and the hours will be more along the lines of open daily, 7 a.m.-8 p.m., except Sundays, when it’ll probably close mid-afternoon. With his John’s background, Topolovich will be doing things like wraps, Reubens, cheesesteak sandwiches and quesadillas. Plus, the Friday fish fry. Once he’s got his deep fryer, he’ll do cod, walleye, perch and maybe shrimp. As for now, Willow and Wenzel will finish out this week serving breakfast and lunch, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Back to Bolognese
Last summer, when Palermo Villa (2315 N. Murray Ave.) co-owner Kathy Mirenda announced the East Side Italian restaurant’s closing, she talked of “difficult economic times” that “no longer allowed” them to “conduct business as usual.” But it wouldn’t be the end of Palermo Villa, really. Divino Wine & Dine is the new name on the sign. The restaurant, serving a very similar menu to Palermo Villa, is a family operation. Owners are Mirenda’s brother (and former Palermo Villa partner), Dean Cannestra, and niece Tina Conley. The space has undergone some minor modifications, including flashing some of its Cream City brick. The menu is hearty Italian. Options range from fried eggplant and calamari to Palermo Villa’s pizzas and pastas (many of which are now available in half-portions). Hours: Mon-Thurs, Sun 4 p.m.-midnight; Fri-Sat 4 p.m.-1 a.m. (414-212-2222)

Look for Dish on Dining on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

One more thing! Follow me on Twitter: @ann_christenson

If you spot a restaurant opening or closing, post it on the comments section of my column, or e-mail me directly: ann.christenson@milwaukeemagazine.com

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