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Loco Motion Seems like just yesterday, I was eating schnitzel with my pop near the stone fireplace at Alpine Village. Founded by the Buchel brothers in 1949. Closed by the Petrie family in July 2010. It’s a little hard to imagine chiles rellenos taking the place of sautéed calves liver, but so it goes. In […]

Loco Motion
Seems like just yesterday, I was eating schnitzel with my pop near the stone fireplace at Alpine Village. Founded by the Buchel brothers in 1949. Closed by the Petrie family in July 2010. It’s a little hard to imagine chiles rellenos taking the place of sautéed calves liver, but so it goes. In little more than a month, this German landmark has been transformed into the second location of Jalapeno Loco (10401 N. Cedarburg Rd., Mequon, 262-238-1300). Co-owner Hugo Saynes isn’t straying from the template of his original Loco, a longtime resident of 5067 S. Howell Ave. His staff painted the interior and brought in the requisite colorful decorative elements. Live mariachi music is the featured entertainment on Wednesday and Sunday nights. The menu is straight-up Jalapeno Loco. Mole verde, shrimp a la diabla, enchiladas Oaxaquenas, pork ribs en salsa verde, and countless combination plates are staples of the restaurant’s South Side – and now, North Shore – menu. For the time being, the Mequon location is open just for dinner, starting at 4 p.m. Lunch service may start in about a month.

Bevy of Beverages
Alongside names like Umami Moto, Carnevor, Sake Tumi and Indulge,Distil” has a certain resonance (722 N. Milwaukee St.). This new drinking and dining emporium – officially opening on Sept. 24 – is in stylish company. And it will be surely be stylish, although I haven’t been inside. It is part of the SURG Restaurant Group (of which Omar Shaikh and Mike Polaski are partners). Its SURG siblings are Umami, Carnevor, Charro Restaurante and Mi-Key’s (811 N. Jefferson St.). A “modern take on a speakeasy” is one applicable phrase. There will be many liquid options – specialty cocktails, wines and beers, and an extensive selection of bourbons. But Distil clientele cannot live on liquids alone. There will be artisan cheese and (aged, cured) meat plates and flights, and desserts made by an in-house pastry chef. Locals will sip their bourbon under a copper ceiling, seated, perhaps, near one of the murals depicting brewing tradition. Hours: Mon-Sat 4 p.m.-close.

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Northern Exposure
This year, the village of Thiensville turns 100 years old. That’s a milestone not lost on the staff at Mendini’s, the latest restaurant to take over the 1890 building at 105 S. Main St. (Most recently, that occupant was Allegro Martini Bar.) Manager Julianne Klein has spent plenty of time inside the building, helping give the dining room an Italian theme. Mendini’s – named for owner/local musician Nick Mendini – is not open yet, but Klein says they’re shooting to have it all ready by the big Thiensville Picnic Celebration on Sept. 26. The lunch menu will feature soups, signature salads and panini, while dinner will dress things up with Italian “sharing” platters (of cheeses, olives, dipping oils, etc.), Italian pasta dishes and chalkboard specials. On Fridays, Mendini’s will do a fish fry. More to come once there’s a firm opening date.

A Challenge to Eat
A few weeks ago, I gave you a little preview of the Eat Local Challenge. The premise is this: For the first couple weeks of this month, you’re challenged to be more conscious of where your food comes from and to buy locally. A pretty simple concept. The Alterra Cafes are helping out by working the challenge into the lunch menu (offered at locations like Tosa, Humboldt and the Fifth Ward Foundry). Through this Sunday (Sept. 12), you can order a soup and sandwich, each with local ties. The roasted tomato bisque uses ingredients from Wisconsin-based Yoder Farms. And the “ultimate” Wisconsin cheddar grilled cheese features cheddars from Carr Valley and Red Barn Family Farms. There’s a Snow White goat cheddar, white cheddar and chipotle cranberry cheddar. With tomatoes, avocado and sunflower seeds on ciabatta bread. To read more about the Eat Local Challenge events, click here.

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If you spot any restaurant openings or closings, don’t hesitate to post them on my column, or e-mail me directly: ann.christenson@milwaukeemagazine.com.

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