Written By Katherine Werther-Kapsy
Photos by Todd Ponath
Original article: http://jsonline.p2ionline.com/sitebase/index.aspx?adgroupid=229593&view=double
Sometimes change is inevitable, and often, it’s for the best. With a little support from Tomas White Senior, Tomas (Tom) Maglio White Junior moved his restaurant business from Hales Corners to this hot spot on South Avenue in downtown Waukesha.
“When the building was sold, we needed to find a new place to continue our restaurant business, explains Tom. After checking out places in Bayview, the Third Ward and other Milwaukee area locations, we decided to reinvent ourselves here because this city has good vibe. The downtown district has been notably revitalized and the people here are friendly.”
For Tom, it was a kind of homecoming. Attending Catholic Memorial High School and going through the culinary arts program at Waukesha County Technical College, Waukesha has been his backyard for much of his life. “Anything I could possibly need, I can find within five to 10 miles of my home. It is just the perfect place to be.”
After college, Tom served apprenticeships including the Hyatt Regency downtown Milwaukee. He then spent six months in Porticello, Sicily learning about Sicilian cuisine.
Tom developed a particular interest in Celiac Disease as the result of conversations with customers and spent a couple of years perfecting gluten-free recipes for pasta, bread and pizza dough. He has received an award from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, and his restaurant is the only accredited location for Celiac food in Wisconsin.
“We make everything from scratch, and when we cannot grow our own vegetables, we get them from the local farmers,” says Tom. “I have actually used the small strip of ground along the side of the building to grow things like beets, kale, Swiss chard, parsley and herbs. Some of them will continue to produce well into the winter months. I am working with the city for a plot of land to make an urban garden where I can grow fresh vegetables.”
On Saturday and Sunday mornings, Tom sells his delicious wares at at farmer’s markets. During the warm weather season, he can be seen at the Waukesha Farmer’s Market. When the outdoor markets shut down, he is at the Mitchell Park Domes, the Oconomowoc Winter Farmer’s Market and the Milaeger’s Great Lakes Farmers Market in Racine. “We sell salad dressings, breads, pastas and ravioli as well as our very popular tiramisu. The markets are great fun!”
One can find Mia Famiglia salad dressings, pasta and bread in local specialty grocery stores as well. Glorioso’s Italian Market, Outpost Natural Food and Grasch Foods are a few of the locations that carry Tom’s products.
Back at the restaurant, customers are showing a particular interest in the charcuterie, a deep fried eggplant and spiedini appetizers. A partial list of pasta dishes include farfalle made with garlic chicken, broccoli and tomato brandy cream and a spinach tagliatelle made with Sicilian bolognese sauce. There are a host of sandwiches on the menu, including a glorioso sausage, served on a focaccia panini with peppers, onions, fennel, red sauce and giardiniere or a Tuscan flat bread with asiago cheese, roasted chicken, bacon, caramelized onion, shiitake, organic greens and white sauce.
“During Lent, we will be offering a Friday night fish fry,” says Tom. “Our weekend live music with soloists or two piece ensembles provide relaxing entertainment and a pleasant ambiance.”
“I continue to work on menu items that spark interest and satisfy the customers. It is what the business is all about.”