Fast-casual pasta bar to open at former John Hawks Pub space

Tua Pasta targeting a late spring or early summer opening

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:21 pm

100 East

A new eatery opening in downtown Milwaukee later this year will offer high-quality, freshly-made Italian food while operating as a quick-service concept.

Tua Pasta is slated to open in late spring or early summer, occupying a 4,203-square-foot ground-floor space at the former John Hawks Pub location in the 100 East office building along the Riverwalk. The restaurant closed in 2016.

The pasta bar, its name meaning “Your Pasta” in Italian, will allow diners to craft their own pasta dishes– choosing from a selection of freshly-made noodles, sauces and locally-sourced toppings that will be cooked right in front of them.

The same process applies to its made-to-order salads and gelato. Tua Pasta will also serve beer and wine.

Owners father and son duo Alvaro Nino de Guzman Sr. and Alvaro Nino de Guzman Jr.  are combining their individual backgrounds– one in business and the other in restaurants– to open the concept and eventually expand it into a franchise chain. 

Nino de Guzman Sr., who worked for almost 30 years in various management roles at Waukesha-based Cooper Power Systems, said he got the idea for the concept from his travels abroad and from country clubs in the area. 

Now with 10 to 15 years of restaurant industry experience, Nino de Guzman Jr. learned about fast-food dining while working at McDonald’s in Mexico and later about fine-dining while working for Surg Restaurant Group in Milwaukee. 

Tua Pasta has been a project two years in the making, Nino de Guzman Sr. said. They wanted to take the time to find the right location to bring in a new concept.

Positioned in an high-trafficked area populated with businesses, the restaurant will mainly target professionals who are on-the-go, Nino de Guzman Jr. said. The space boasts a seating capacity of 120, but take-out will also be available. 

Tua Pasta will also be a spot for social diners looking for a casual sit-down lunch or dinner, and when it opens the outdoor patio on the Riverwalk this summer, with a view.

The restaurant will have a modern and industrial-style look, featuring bright, neutral colors and natural light.

The Nino de Guzmans said they plan to perfect the concept, making adjustments to the business plan and the restaurant’s layout, before they take steps to expand to other locations.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.