Husband and wife duo Sarah and Zak Baker, operating partners of the Milwaukee-based Pizza Man restaurants, are seeking to open a new Italian restaurant and store in East Tosa.
The new restaurant would occupy a space that currently houses American restaurant and bar Juniper 61, located at 6028 W. North Ave. The Bakers plan to purchase and renovate the 7,427-square-foot building for the new restaurant.
Sarah Baker said she and Zak are in the early stages of planning, but if their proposal is approved by the city, they hope to open the restaurant in four to six months. Plans for the new restaurant will be considered at a city Plan Commission meeting on July 9.
Juniper 61 owners Cameryne Roberts and Sarah Jonas opened the restaurant in 2008. Roberts and Jonas were not immediately available for comment, but according to plans submitted by the Bakers, Juniper 61 “posted strong sales and is only looking to cease operations due to personal, family issues.” The women also own Lulu in Bay View.
The Bakers will spend an estimated $1.2 million on the real estate purchase and startup expenses, according to the submitted plans. They plan to contribute $125,000 of that amount, and attain the remainder from a bank loan.
The new restaurant will specialize in Italian-style cuisine, including hand-made pasta, Italian street food, and wine. Its food and beverage offerings will rotate on a monthly basis to feature cuisine from different regions of Italy. Pastas and sauces that will made by chef Zak Baker, along with the wine that will be offered at the restaurant, will be sold in the restaurant’s retail space.
The new restaurant, which will offer seating for 80 people and an outdoor patio, will be open Wednesday to Friday, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Its retail market will be open Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Bakers joined the Pizza Man team over 10 years ago. Currently, Sarah serves as the director of operations and Zak serves as an operating partner and executive chef for the restaurant’s three locations Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and Oak Creek.
The couple will also operate Glass + Griddle, the new brewpub that will open by late August at the former Pabst brewery complex in downtown Milwaukee.