Pizza, Pizza, Pizza: Yet Another Pizzeria Coming to Shorewood

Four long-time friends plan to open the Runaway Meatball restaurant this spring — the fourth pizzeria to either announce plans to open or set up operations in the village since October.

Come spring, Shorewood will have its pick of pizza joints with yet another restaurant slated to join the business district.

Proprietor Tom Drilias and three long-time friends plan to open Runaway Meatball in the former Mama Mia’s storefront, 3590 N. Oakland Ave., in late April or early May.

The restaurant will serve up a host of Italian sandwiches, Sicilian-style pizzas and chicken wings, Drilias said. Sides including homemade potato chips, “haystack” onion rings and macaroni and cheese will also be on the menu.

Runaway Meatball will offer carryout and delivery, but won’t have space to sit-down other than to wait for orders to be filled. Drilias said the shop will be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and likely remain open until midnight on weekends.

Two other pizza establishments are expected to open this spring including , and Al Calderone Club setting up shop at 4475 N. Oakland Ave., in the newly-constructed, former Brit Inn space. 

In October, Falbo Bros. Pizzeria opened at 2213 E. Capitol Drive, replacing Salvatore’s. 

Drilias is a North Shore native, growing up in Glendale and graduating from Nicolet High School. He has been friends with his partners for decades; one of which founded and ran Upper Crust Pizza in Whitefish Bay for roughly 20 years. 

"The other three have been friends since childhood, and then I became friends with them in the 70s," Drilias said, adding they are all retired now and thought they would give opening a pizza shop a-go. 

With the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee just down the street and plenty of local opportunities to draw business during lunch, Drilias said the Shorewood location was a good fit. He added the group of friends looked at several locations as far out as Oconomowoc, before settling on Shorewood. 

“We think there’s a big business for sandwiches with the noon-time lunch hour with all the college students,” Drilias said.

The group of friends have a long road ahead of them to get up and running, Drilias said, as they plan to do a lot of renovations.

“We are going to have to spend a lot of money on the facility,” Drilias noted. “We are going to bring in all new equipment, all new walls, new floors, new ceiling, new electrical. We are going to rip it all out and start over.”

The village’s Plan Commission approved the issuance of a conditional use permit at a meeting Tuesday night. Drilias will still need to seek an occupancy permit from the village for his business.

Naive One February 27, 2013 at 03:34 PM
I'm in.
Absolutelyfabulous February 27, 2013 at 07:51 PM
OH good!! Maybe the occulancy of that space will increase the values of all surrounding propeties in the area as was the reason why the Village of Shorewood GAVE almost $400,000 to the apartment building across the street for Harleys buildout/rent and building improvments which were supposed to total $1,200,000, Funny thing is, that building just sold in May for %1,500,000 and Dan Katz is listed as the agent for the new LLC for that property. The taxes paid on that property have dropped from $79,000 to $39,000 for the current year. The property was purchased ~06 for $3,200,000 + $1,200,000 improvements ($400,000 courtesy of Trustees) and now is assessed at the purchase price of $1,500,000. A little explanation on that one would be nice. Someone got a hell of a deal and the taxpayers put in $400,000.
Absolutelyfabulous February 27, 2013 at 07:54 PM
BTW, is this business going to be on the receiving end of more village monies? If so, how much?
Adam W. McCoy (Editor) February 27, 2013 at 10:18 PM
The pizza shop has not applied for any village grants or loans as far as I know.
David Tatarowicz February 27, 2013 at 10:39 PM
@Ab FAb If they are smart they will first ask the village how much they can get, before they put a number down --- they would probably not expect as much as Shorewood always seems willing to give away ........ Be interesting to see how the election for Village Trustees goes, only one is an incumbent ---- I wonder where the two challengers stand on the village money give aways.
Absolutelyfabulous February 27, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Dave- I'm surprised no one has done a story on how this property has received so much in free monies granted by the Trustees/friends on the village board and better yet, how does an apartment building in shorewood w/ 33 units along with an entire 1st floor of commercial space come in w/ an asssessed value of $1,500,000? Is it all those monies pumped into this property for "improvements" had no affect on the value of this property that had previously sold for over $3,000,000 + $1,200,000 in improvements w/ once again $400,000 courtesy of Shorewood. Maybe some other property owners should take note when they are going to undertake improvements on their properties and make sure they get a reduction in their assessment and then they can pay less in property taxes. Though, any improvements homeowners will undertake will have to come out of their own pocket vs handouts from the decision makers in Shorewood.
Absolutelyfabulous February 27, 2013 at 11:12 PM
BTW..For anyone interested here is the Village Assessors page for 3575 N Oakland/Harley's that includes assessments + sales dates. Year Assessed Land Class Land Improvement Total 2012 Commercial $666,700.00 $ 833,300.00 $1,500,000.00 2011 Commercial $666,700.00 $2,133,300.00 $2,800,000.00 2010 Commercial $666,700.00 $2,133,300.00 $2,800,000.00 2009 Commercial $666,700.00 $2,833,300.00 $3,500,000.00 2008 Commercial $666,700.00 $2,833,300.00 $3,500,000.00 2007 Commercial $666,700.00 $2,818,300.00 $3,485,000.00 2006 Commercial $287,200.00 $2,045,000.00 $2,332,200.00 2005 Commercial $287,200.00 $2,045,000.00 $2,332,200.00 2004 Commercial $287,200.00 $2,045,000.00 $2,332,200.00 2003 Commercial $287,200.00 $2,045,000.00 $2,332,200.00 2002 Commercial $287,200.00 $2,045,000.00 $2,332,200.00 What's ironic is Dan Katz is now the same landlord that Harley's had and raised the rents so high that Harley's had to move. What prevents Katz from raising the rents since the space has been tricked out w/ $192,000 in free monies from the village? To be a fly on the wall. OWNERSHIP HISTORY Sale Date Amount 6/15/2012 $1,500,000.00 6/30/2006 $3,485,000.00
Homergumby February 28, 2013 at 02:05 AM
DUH...What else would one expect from a Katz ownership!?!?!!!!
Bob McBride February 28, 2013 at 02:01 PM
It would be interesting (sort of) to do a tally of the number of pizza places within a 1-1/2 - 2 mile radius of UWM. Either the amount of pizza consumed by UWM students is limited only by the number of pizza sellers in the area, or a couple of these newer establishments are going to be in and out of business relatively quickly. It's a very price sensitive market when it comes to students on a limited budget and I'm pretty sure it's not a business with extraordinary margins in the first place. How quickly (if at all) is this latest place going to be able to recover the "lot of money" they intend to invest in the facility to make it operational?
David Tatarowicz February 28, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Has anyone noticed that the Planning Commission had to issue a Conditional Use Permit for this place !!! I believe that is because they are Take out and Delivery Only, with no seating or eating inside. If they were a restaurant, i believe that is an accepted use and does not require any conditional use. We all know that Shorewood has a parking problem -- so where is the logic that a business that does not require a lot of parking --- 5 minutes to pickup, none if delivery -- needs a conditional use permit ---- but a restaurant which requires much longer parking --- avg hour for eat in ???? does not need one. This is one of the little ways that Shorewood is a pain for businesses --- they will hand out money like crazy, but put the little obstacles in the path of enterprise.
Cricket February 28, 2013 at 07:29 PM
I really wish someone would open a good, authentic mexican restaurant around here. Pizza is pizza and one tastes no better than the other in my opinion. I agree with Bob McBride, some of these are going to be out of business really soon.
CowDung February 28, 2013 at 07:53 PM
My kids could definitely tell the difference between Vedo's and Salvatore's--they love Vedo's and wouldn't eat Salvatore's. They are somewhat neutral on their opinion of Falbo's. I'd be surprised if if there's enough pizza eaters around for them all to survive. The ones farther North are unlikely to be targeted by UW-M students. I think the organic pizza place might have a slight advantage with their unique offering. The ones to the South are also competing with Ian's, Toppers, Lisa's, Domino's, Little Ceaser's and probably a few others that I am missing. The Shorewood schools/students can likely keep Vedo open by their proximity to the HS, but the others are going to be challenged to separate themselves from the rest. I'd love to see a good authentic Mexican place. Rio West Cantina isn't bad, but it isn't as good as the places around 5th-6th and National.
Absolutelyfabulous February 28, 2013 at 08:40 PM
Dung- I'm going to have to try Vedo's. Googled them and they pretty much have great reviews across numerous sites.
Cheryl Andres February 28, 2013 at 11:05 PM
I'm still wondering what happened to Mama Mia's. I moved here 10 years ago and Mama Mia's was always my favorite. Then all of a sudden, they're gone. What's the story? If they couldn't make money in that location, no one else will either.
Absolutelyfabulous March 01, 2013 at 12:41 AM
The owner was looking to relocate for a few years and he moved and opened up another location in Port Washington. http://www.mamamiasport.com/
Adam W. McCoy (Editor) March 01, 2013 at 02:29 AM
How do you know that AbFab?
Absolutelyfabulous March 01, 2013 at 02:46 AM
Adam- A blast from the past and the in depth, life enriching discussions that take place. I'm going to make you work for the answer. Just click the link and read through the comments. http://shorewood.patch.com/articles/another-pizza-place-coming-to-shorewood#comments_list
Adam W. McCoy (Editor) March 01, 2013 at 03:00 AM
All I see is speculation.
Absolutelyfabulous March 01, 2013 at 03:05 AM
Absolutelyfabulous 8:50 am on Thursday, November 29, 2012 I thought that Mama Mia's (Silver Spring and Shorewood location) were run by a man or as part of a family enterprise. Why? Because a couple of years ago he and I were in discussions for a space w/ his goal/intentions of him leaving the Shorewood location on Oakland. That never materialized and I don't know how serious he was at the time. I don't remember his name, but it was the owner. _____________________________ When I was in discussions w/ the owner of Oakland Mama Mia's I had called over to the Silver Spring location to speak w/ him there. He wanted to beat a fast track out of his Oakland location and was looking around.
Absolutelyfabulous March 01, 2013 at 03:17 AM
Also, when you go into Mama Mia's on Silver Spring in the take out area as well as in the pick up counter area on Oakland as well as featured on the website for the Port Washington location (see link above) they have/had the same photos of the family on the wall.
Absolutelyfabulous March 01, 2013 at 03:30 AM
And 1 more.. Just compare the menus from Silver Spring & Port Washington. Here's the Party Pan/Catering Menus from both. Same people. Silver Spring http://www.partypan.com/cateringPartyPan.html Port Washington http://www.mamamiasport.com/catering/
Bob McBride March 01, 2013 at 04:37 AM
I suppose, if it really matters, someone could call the guy up and ask him. It certainly shut down quickly and without much warning.
Jay Sykes March 01, 2013 at 06:24 AM
Although it has been a while.... as we are less than interested in 27th & SS in the evening... Love the Garlic Bread, the Pizza is ok, Lasagna is very good. I've been to the West Alllis and Waukesha stores, for lunch, and the food seems the same as Silver Spring;at least the Pizza and Garlic Bread do.
Mike March 01, 2013 at 03:13 PM
@CowDung - I've always thought the Mexican places on National were quite awful, often tastes like mass produced and sometimes frozen entrees. In my humble opinion, if you want good Mexican food, visit Bel-Air Cantina at Humboldt & Water, or Margarita Paradise in the Milwaukee Public Market, best Mexican food spots in town.
Mike March 01, 2013 at 03:15 PM
@Cricket, while I don't disagree that we probably have a few too many pizza places in Shorewood, I'm not quite sure how you can say all pizza tastes the same. For instance, if you think Zaffiro's and Little Caesars are similar in taste, perhaps you should just stop eating pizza altogether.
CowDung March 01, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Which places are you talking about? La Fuente doesn't seem that way at all...
Mike March 01, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Cow, I've eaten at La Fuente, La Perla, and Botanas several times, and each time I walk away wondering why I keep going back....which is why I finally stopped going back. They just always disappointed me personallly, which is why I found other places that I feel have better food and you don't feel like a cow in a herd while you're waiting and eating.
David Tatarowicz March 01, 2013 at 04:41 PM
@Mike Cielito Lindo on 2nd and National --- no crowds, lots of Mexican folks eating there --- basically home style cooking --- I think they are the best in Milwaukee
Mike March 01, 2013 at 05:31 PM
@David, thanks for the tip, we'll put it on the list to try!
Bad Bob Bazooka Bulge April 03, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Tom Drilias is a convicted felon who served time in the house of correction for looting restaurants! PLANNING COMMISSION.. look in to this bad actor and his felonoius INVESTORS ASAP and stop this


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