At first it was a failed attempt for a "Last night of bowling" slice of pizza with my team at the end of April.
Then it was an answering machine when I tried to order quick pizza the day we got back from vacation on May 1st - a Saturday night.
Now it has become an obsession. Is Tomasino Italia' really gone?
This wouldn't be the first of my favorite West Allis restaurants to close during the receission. I had lost The Little Cafe on 90th & National this past winter. On a bitterly cold Saturday morning with a hankerin' for pancakes and the sports section, I came across the locked door at The Little Cafe with a sign in the window which said something to the effect that if anyone has a few thousand bucks, you could reopen the restaurant.
Still hungry, I drove down Becher because I knew there was a little diner on about 68th St... that too was gone (I had never been there, so I didn't consider it a "favorite", but it was disappointing that another small restaurant couldn't make a go).
That particular day, I did eventually find pancakes at Two Brothers (on the corner of Burnham and Electric), but the sorrow of losing The Little Cafe still hangs. I had been going there for about 10 years... that Hallowe'en both of (Sponsor's Name Here)'s Official Children won a prize in their Costume party.
I've blogged in the past about Doyle's Milwaukee Inn, and the changeover to become Tomasino Italia. In meeting Mr. Doyle, he was very passionate about the fact that much of his business did NOT come from West Allis, and that he was continually amazed at how many people eat at the chain restaurants near Mayfair Mall and Brookfield Square. I supposed those two issues influenced his decision to change to a more "popular" style of restaurant.
It had seemed to be a success, as they appeared busier as in Italian restaurant than as a European supper club when I was there. I took pizzas for our Fantasy Football draft and we carried out pizzas often. Recently, he added a Happy Hour on Thursday nights at 9:00 PM where he offered $1.50 slices and draft beers (then $2.00). It became a hangout for our bowlng team after league on Thursday nights... we could easily go through 10-12 slices in an hour or two. When he opened for lunch and offered a Chili Bar, he had offered a bowl to me and it became a craving (too bad I work 15 miles from the chili). Can you tell that I really liked his place?
The apparent closing came suddenly (I say apparent, because he still his promotional signs hanging outside. It doesn't look through the windows like anything is out of place). Granted, nobody has to ask my permission to close a business, but I am still in shock. He's a nice guy and I thought he was going to make it.
Thomas Doyle is an accomplished chef. I am sure he will either open a new restaurant or become a chef at an existing place. I just hope he sees this and gives me his recipe for his chili and fresh Giardinara.