I am a huge fan of the Village of Wauwatosa, and particularly of what it has become over the last 10+ years. Back when I was in high school and worked at Drews' Variety Store, at break time I loved to walk around the Village and grab a bite to eat. At that time my "lunch" consisted of crazy bread from the dearly (or not so dearly) departed Little Ceasars and a smoothie from Baskin Robbins. If I was feeling really adventurous I'd go for broke with a chocolate feast from Niemann's.
Although I was a highschooler and this diet, while certainly lacking in nutrition was perfectly acceptable for a 16-year-old, another big reason I lived like this was because the aforementioned eateries were all that was in walking distance of Drews at the time. Soon came Starbucks, then Noodles & Company, Pizzeria Piccola, and of course more recently the bigger dining options (OK, Bartolotta's has been there for a while - but come on, the place still intimidates me). Drews' eventually went out, while so many other great new businesses came in.
The Village is thriving. It is just such a hot spot for local commerce and cuisine. After a recent rehearsal I was involved with in the Village, some of us stopped out to the brand spankin'-new Cafe Bavaria... Even more delicious food and froth in a beautifully redone/repurposed space!
The downside to this surge in development? We've all experienced it: parking - or rather, the lack thereof. I would love to find out whether there are any plans for additional parking lots in there area. I am a proud Tosan, always jumping at the chance to suggest to friends that we meet in the village for dinner or drinks. Often the response is "isn't it difficult to find parking over there?" My answer has always been "I know of a couple lots that not everyone else remembers - use one of them." Well I am now at the point where I personally am out of parking recommendations. I want to remain optimistic and continue to recommend the Village, but especially in this ridiculously cold weather, walking for blocks is not a good option. The restaurants that have sprung up on North Ave. are also good meeting locales, but most of them do not have great parking options either (Juniper 61 is the only go-to with parking I've got - good thing they are awesome).
Last week on Friday I made a huge mistake: I attempted to pick up the new glasses I had ordered from Be Spectacled (they are amazing red frames which I adore as much as the shop they came from - if I was into selfies I'd have one posted here!) around lunchtime. Do you know what lunchtime in the village means? Everything is open. All stores and restaurants are open for business, unlike at night when it's just the restaurants, or in the morning when it's vice versa. All my typical parking lots were at capacity. I drove around three times before finding a spot on Harwood fairly close to Milwaukee Ave. Seems a little ridiculous, but that's what was available. It took me 25 minutes to park/walk to the store that I was in for less than five minutes.
I know, I know... I'm going off a bit, and I am absolutely not the only one who is experiencing these frustrations. But, can someone tell me - is there hope in sight?