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The Malt Shoppe, Thai-namite, Café Blue plan summer openings in Tosa

May 13, 2014

The city's Plan Commission unanimously green-lighted three new business openings at its meeting Monday, May 12: Thai-namite, an Asian fusion restaurant; Café Blue, a coffee shop; and The Malt Shoppe, which will sell craft beers, hard ciders and meads.

Conditional-use permits for the businesses need approval by the Community Development Committee on May 27 and then the Common Council before the businesses can open.

The Malt Shoppe, planned to open at 813 N. Mayfair Road in August or September, would sell regularly-packaged beer, but also offer a filling station for growlers. Customers could choose from about 30 beers to pour into their own 32- and 64- ounce containers.

There is no seating planned for the shop and customers would be expected to take their growlers off-premises for drinking. The business still needs approval for its liquor license.

Pat Lafferty, owner of The Malt Shoppe, said he chose the location because of its proximity to commuters on Interstate-94, Highway 100 and Highway 45.

Having spent more than 20 years in advertising, Lafferty said, the business venture is a "personal passion" and he thinks other beer enthusiasts will appreciate the option to take home draft beer in growlers.

"We're finding the real aficionados of beer realize a bottle of beer can sit a little longer than kegs do and the flavor degrades over time," Lafferty said. "Some of the more knowledgeable beer aficionados are going to really gravitate toward that option of having a draft beer while sitting on their couch."

The other two businesses approved at the meeting are moving to the East Tosa neighborhood, with Café Blue slated for 6428 W. North Ave., a space once occupied by a photography studio.

The coffeeshop plans to serve drinks and pastries from Colectivo, and additional food from Ms. Tea.

Café Blue owner Caroline Yiannackopoulos said she hopes to have the shop open in mid-June. With only one bathroom, the coffeehouse is limited to seating just 12 people, but Yiannackopoulas hopes to expand the business one day.

"I live right over there, and I love that neighborhood," she said.

Alderman Bobby Pantuso, who does not sit on the Plan Commission but represents the East Tosa neighborhood, said he thinks the shop will help fill in "a little bit of an emptiness" on the street between 60th and 68th streets, which have developed more slowly than the area to west.

Alderman Joel Tilleson, who also represents the 5th District, does sit on the commission. He supports Café Blue

"If the people in our district would say one business they wanted, they would say a coffeeshop," Tilleson said.

Thai-namite, which already has a location on Milwaukee's East Side, plans to open a second location in August at 7212 W. North Ave., where Fattoni's Deli & Catering used to operate.

The Asian fusion restaurant would serve Japanese sushi and Thai food for dining in, carrying out or delivery.

One of the owners of Thai-namite, Kim Kongsin, said the group spent two years looking for a second location in Bay View, Whitefish Bay or Wauwatosa. They found the right spot on North Avenue.

"The atmosphere is nice and cozy," Kongsin said. "We are looking forward to being here, and we hope the community is looking forward to us, too."

Kongsin said the restaurant would be similar to its Milwaukee location, but would have more small plates and a full bar.

"I think it's a perfect use for the space," Commissioner Michael Goetz said. "People are already excited about coming over and having another great food option on North Avenue."

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