Tavolino Returns After an Almost Three-Month Hiatus

The Italian spot will have a new look, chef and menu with the reopening.

It’s been close to three months since Tavolino shut down, the result of a fire that broke out at neighboring restaurant Kawa Ramen and Sushi. The Italian restaurant (2315 N. Murray Ave.) is finally set to re-open. Dinner service starts Monday, Aug. 28.

The spot returns, says co-owner/GM Peter Dietrich, with new everything – look, chef and menu. “It has been a long 12 weeks, definitely not how I envisioned our summer working out,” Dietrich said by email.


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Incoming chef Trent Leiknes’ kitchen experience includes Pastiche in Brown Deer and the former Bonobo American Bistro in Shorewood. As before, the restaurant makes its pasta in-house and the pizza dough recipe “has been around for generations,” says Dietrich. (Note that Palermo Villa – then Divino – occupied this space for many years.)

The menu isn’t completely new. Returning favorites include polpette (beef meatballs with marinara), romaine alla griglia (grilled romaine salad) and chicken marsala with roasted heirloom carrot. Among the newbies are mussels in a spicy tomato broth with grilled baguette; pesce spada (swordfish) with pasta al pomodoro; agnello (red wine braised lamb shank) with kalamata olives, marinated tomato, polenta and pan sauce; and bistecca, a New York strip with roasted broccolini, agrodolce and celery root puree.

The three-year-old restaurant – named for the Italian word meaning “small table” – was last in Milwaukee Magazine’s pages in the March 2023 issue, when it was included in our Top 25 Restaurants feature.



Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.