Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant to expand catering operation, offer carry-out and delivery

Owner purchases former Milwaukee Smoked BBQ building in Bay View

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

3902 S. Whitnall Ave., photo by Google

Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood is expanding its kitchen space to meet growing demand from diners.

By late May, Tenuta’s plans to move its catering operations about two miles south of its 2995 S. Clement Ave. restaurant space to a single-story building, located at 3902 S. Whitnall Ave., said owner Frank Tenuta.

The 900-square-foot, 88-year-old buiding previously housed Milwaukee Smoked BBQ, which closed in January, said Tenuta.

An affiliate of Tenuta earlier this year purchased the building for $280,000, according to state records. The building, which has an assessed value of $95,400, includes a commercial kitchen and a small front-of-house entryway. Tenuta plans to use the building to not only bolster his restaurant’s catering operations, but also to offer carry-out and delivery services, which are frequently requested by diners, Tenuta said.

“We do a fair amount of catering and we’d been looking for a while for a catering kitchen,” he said. “The building was for sale and it was perfect size to do carry out and delivery out of there.”

Limited kitchen space has put a strain on the business’ growing catering operations, he said, especially on Saturday nights when the restaurant is already busy. That strain often forces Tenuta’s to turn customers away.

Tenuta said the restaurant’s catering arm books about eight to 10 events per month. Those are mostly small scale functions such as business dinners or lunches, but some are weddings or events with up to 200 people.

He said the additional space will allow the restaurant to better serve its catering customers and to improve that sector of the business.

As Tenuta’s introduces carry-out and delivery, it plans to offer a limited menu of pizza, a few pasta dishes, sandwiches and appetizers, Tenuta said. Delivery will be done in-house, initially serving customers in the Bay View and St. Francis areas.

Tenuta said he will later consider expanding the restaurant’s delivery radius and partnering with third party delivery services such as UberEats, Grub Hub and DoorDash.

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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