225 So Mia Famiglia brings old favorites to new location in downtown Waukesha

Chris Kuhagen
225 So Mia Famiglia, a new Italian restaurant in downtown Waukesha, opened on Wednesday, May 6.
Published on: 5/8/2015

A new Italian restaurant is now open in downtown Waukesha.

225 So Mia Famiglia — a name which combines the eatery's previous Hales Corners moniker with its new Waukesha street address — opened on Wednesday, May 6.

For now, it is welcoming walk-ins at its restaurant at 225 South St., said Becky Ayala, the front of the house manager. A grand opening will likely be held within a month, said Ayala, who runs the restaurant with her family.

"We want to get all the kinks out and make sure everything is going smoothly before the grand opening," Ayala said. "So we decided to do a soft opening where we could make adjustments and do a trial-and-error period to see what works and what doesn't.

"We ask that our customers be patient with us. But the first few days have been really good."

The restaurant's name comes from its address in downtown Waukesha across from The Rotunda and its name at its former Hales Corners location (Mia Famiglia).

What's in a name

Ayala said she wanted to keep the Mia Famiglia name in the restaurant's title to maintain its brand that she and her family have created at its Hales Corners restaurant since 2001.

The restaurant's core principles of making its dishes from scratch will continue, as will using homegrown products from local and organic farms. The restaurant will also continue to bake its own breads. Any item can be prepared gluten-free.

While the restaurant doesn't include pizzas, the menu includes salads (with its well-established "Mama's Balsamic Dressing"), pastas, grilled flatbreads and sandwiches (which can be served on homemade focaccia or brioche).

Build-your-own burgers, including a pizza burger, have also been added to the menu. All main entrees are priced between $10 and $14.

Ayala said the restaurant's head chef, Tomas White Jr. (Ayala's cousin), may still make some tweaks to its menu and isn't offering specials yet.

Prepping a new home

Ayala said most of her kitchen staff came over from its now-closed Hales Corners restaurant, but a majority of its staff in the front of the house is new. Ayala and her family remodeled the interior of the restaurant, changing the color scheme as well as much of the design work at the bar.

"It was a lot of work to get the renovations completed in time," Ayala said. "But it's very exciting."

In addition to the 12 to 15 tables inside that includes long-booth seating, the restaurant offers seating along the front window, where the overhead window will be open when the weather allows. The overhead window was put in by the previous tenant, Jackson's Blue Ribbon Pub.

The main reason for the change in location for Ayala and her family is due to its growing business outside the dining room. Ayala said their business needed more space for production in the kitchen for its products in farmers markets and stores.

The business has a booth at the Waukesha Farmers Market and will offer breads, pasta, ravioli, Italian desserts and hot beef sandwiches.

"We're happy to be part of downtown," Ayala said. "We've met our new neighbors and it's been great so far."

Ayala said the restaurant will honor any gift cards or gift certificates previously purchased at the old restaurant.

When to go

The restaurant's hours for now are 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

However, Ayala said the restaurant's hours of operation could include lunch on Fridays and Saturdays in the coming months and a Sunday brunch further down the road.

She also expects the hours of operation for the bar to change.

"Right now, we're just getting our feet wet, so we'll toy with how early and late we want our bar to open," Ayala said.