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.