West Side Stories

A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.

Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.

I Heart Tosa

Community, Kids, Neighborhood, Restaurants, Tosa Business

Once in a while, I encounter a few things that remind me why I love Tosa. Sometimes it’s something small, sometimes funny, sometimes a little sad. Here are a few:


Can there be a more fun bakery experience than Cranky Al’s? If I have overnight guests or need to entertain with breakfast or brunch food, Cranky’s is a sure bet. I stopped in over the weekend and there was Al, greeting every guest. “Whaddya want?!” he playfully teased. I walked out with a giant box of donuts and a big smile – a bargain, if you ask me.


My average morning starts out with coffee. Lots of coffee. It also starts out with a trip outside so that Millie the wonder dog can “do her business.” Today, as I stood outside in the warm air under a dark sky littered with stars, I heard an unusual noise. It’s very quiet in the pre-dawn hours so I quickly looked around to find the source. There, galloping across my yard, were two deer. It was really cool. Oh and Millie never noticed.


Are there enough ways to express the community sadness over the future loss of Drew’s Variety Store? I loved the store, but I also love how the community is embracing this icon of days gone by and lamenting its loss. I guess it’s too late to save the store, but perhaps it’s not too late to save the feeling and know that we need more of it here in Tosa.


Sure, it’s a little more expensive than it used to be and yes, some of the sandwiches are decidedly swanky, but John Sandwich Shop is to Tosa restaurants what Drew’s is/was to Tosa retail. A gem - an adorable and quirky little place where you can watch the world go by and greet neighbors and friends. We’d be wise to keep it busy.


My kids have friends from many other communities throughout Milwaukee – Bay View, Brookfield, Waukesha, Menomonee Falls, just to name a few. Without a doubt, the village of Tosa is hands-down the favorite hang-out for teens. (And don’t let that scare you folks – I promise these are nice kids.) Sure, they could go to Mayfair, but when given a choice, these kids would much rather walk down to the village and grab a bite at Noodles or Pizzeria Piccola or walk through Hart Park discussing life. I feel really fortunate for this.


Treasures abound in Tosa. Little places or small experiences. What makes you love Tosa?


This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Page Tools