Phil LeClaire is like a lot of parents - he's spent a fair amount of time attending his sons' athletic and school activities and perhaps an equal amount of time dining out after those events. But something bothered him about the post-game meals.
"I found that there was a lack of casual, good food in the Brookfield area," he said. "A lot of the casual spots were either chains or taverns."
LeClaire opened his own restaurant, Mozzaluna, which offers Brookfield a new casual dining option. Located in the Stonewood Village Shopping Center on Capitol Drive, Mozzaluna (which is a made-up name combining mozzarella cheese and a mezzaluna knife) occupies the former home of Mr. B's Steakhouse.
The interior is charming and cozy, and windows overlook the courtyard of Stonewood Village. Mozzaluna is a casual restaurant that serves authentic wood-fired Italian pizzas and other Italian dishes.
"We use real ingredients from Italy - fresh mozzarella, for example and other top-notch ingredients," LeClaire explains. "We are a casual family-oriented setting with affordable menu items."
Pizza is the specialty of the house, made with a light, authentic, Italian crust. Some of the popular pizzas are the Mozzaluna with tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula and Parmesan ($12.99), the Margherita with tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, olive oil and oregano ($7.99) and the Bianca with mozzarella, ham and shaved Parmesan ($9.50). All of the pizzas are individual and measure about 11 inches. For an additional $2, you can order "fior di latte" - fresh mozzarella. Other popular items include the Ravioli di Funghi ($12.99) and the Ribeye Panini ($11.99).
Mozzaluna prides itself on being authentic Italian, including the chef, Alfredo D'Amato, from Italy and formerly of Mimma's, a popular restaurant on Brady Street in Milwaukee.
Everything is as traditional as possible, and although ingredients are high quality, LeClaire emphasizes that it can be the perfect place for a casual night out.
"We didn't want to be just a high-end Italian place. Our prices are accessible and everything is made fresh daily."
ADDRESS:17700 W. Capitol Drive (in Stonewood Village), Brookfield
PHONE: (262) 790-1077
HOURS: Lunch - weekdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner - Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m.
PRICE RANGE: $7.99 to $14.99
HANDICAPPED ACCESS? yes (side of building - speak to staff)
GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS: limited
LOOKING TO 'GRAB A BITE'?
"Grab a Bite" is an informal look at the food scene in the Wauwatosa, Brookfield and Elm Grove area by freelance writer Karen Waldkirch. Whether you're looking for a place for a date night or a casual spot for lunch, Waldkirch will be out and about scouting eateries for you. If you have a suggestion for a column, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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