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August 2002

Riverwest residents who were looking forward to the opening of Lena’s grocery store in the old Kohl’s building on Holton will have to wait a couple months. The opening date has been pushed back to “at least two months” from now, according to Lena’s owner Anthony Martin. The store is working on getting the proper permits.


Palermo Villa Restaurant owner Dean Cannestra, with business partner Joe Gilsdorf, is opening an upscale bar and restaurant in the old Stork Club. The restaurant will be named Nessun Dorma, or “no one will sleep,” after an aria from Pucini’s opera, Turondot. Neighbors are probably hoping that won’t be the case, but Cannestra said after a meeting with nearby residents, plans are on track to open the restaurant as soon as possible. “We’re still working on getting in there, fixing the place up, giving it a ‘look,’ and deciding on the menu,” Cannestra says. There will be an Italian theme to the food, whether it be light sandwiches, such as panini and antipasti, or pizza. Cannestra and business partner Joe Gilsdorf have applied for a liquor license and are awating its approval. They hope open for business by the end of August. The building’s owner is refinishing the space, restoring woodwork, expanding the bathrooms, putting a new floor in, and just plain “cleaning things up very well.” Cannestra says he and Gilsdorf like the Riverwest neighborhood and see a lot of positive change and potential, comparing it to “the kind of feel Brady Street had 15 years ago.”


Speaking of gentrification…. could this be the beginning of a trend? There are rumblings about other popular restaurants and night spots looking at moving into the neighborhood. None of them, however, are ready to speak on the record about their intentions. Stay tuned…


Bremen Cafe

Many were sorry to see R.Evolution Bookstore and Café at Bremen and Clarke go out of business at the end of June, but the storefront wasn’t vacant long. Mehrdad J. Dalamie and Laura Harms, two owners of the monthly publication Vital Source, have opened the Bremen Café. Both the inside and outside of the building have been painted and remodeled. The café’s offerings will include light lunch such as bagels, sandwiches, and coffee, and its owners plan to slowly build its repertoire of food and drink offerings. Dalamie, who was formerly a kitchen manager at Gil’s Café and part owner of Don Quixote restaurant on Downer Street, says the café may have music some evenings as well.


Word has it that Mickey Shanahan has bought out his partners in a legal battle. Shanahan now owns the bar and building at Fratney and Wright. He is painting the building green, in honor of the Green Party, which recently moved into the third floor over the bar. Meanwhile, The Pub, under new management since January, continues to be a successful and popular corner tavern. Managers Derrick and Mark have surprised both loyal and first-time patrons with complimentary corn-roasts and Friday night BBQ’s.


Nita’s II tavern & building is for sale, 630 E. Locust St. For more information, call 264-6226. Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 7 – August 2002