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.

Cafe Hollander - The New Kid in the Village

Restaurants, Tosa Business

There’s a new kid in town and, at first glance, he seems pretty popular. The “kid” that I’m talking about is Café Hollander, the newest restaurant to open in the village.

Described by some as “part Dutch coffee bar and restaurant and part Belgian beer bar,” Café Hollander has boasted packed houses and buzz-inducing crowds that spill outside of its State Street location onto the bridge over the Menomonee River.

I can’t honestly give you a review of the place because I’ve consumed exactly one beer there during the preview night before the grand opening. The beer was good, the crowd was even better. I did attempt to return for dinner but swarming gnats and REALLY slow service sent us across the street to Pizzeria Piccola. (I’m guessing they’re still ironing out opening month service issues.)

Clearly, Hollander has already found its niche. As any good realtor will tell you, it’s location, location, location and Hollander has picked a winner. (If only they could improve the appearance of the river below its outdoor tables.) On ANY given night, you’ll see a healthy crowd standing outside, enjoying beverages, food and the rare beautiful Tosa summer weather.

It’s a great sight, driving eastbound on State Street from the parkway, entering the heart of the village and seeing a vibrant business looking busy and fun. In fact, it’s just what the doctor ordered. Whatever Café Hollander is bringing to the Tosa business table, I, for one, believe that it’s good for ALL of Tosa.

Some have wondered aloud about the effect that Hollander will have on the neighboring Tosa restaurants, specifically The Chancery next door. Only time will tell. However, I think it’s in everyone’s best interest (including Hollander’s) that The Chancery, Pizzeria Piccola, Le Reve, Ristorante Bartolotta and even Noodles continue to thrive and perhaps benefit from the popularity of the new kid in town.

Thanks to some forward-thinking business owners such as the restaurants mentioned earlier AND others including Leff’s Lucky Town, Vino 100, Hector’s and Colonel Hart's, the Tosa village has quietly evolved into a dining and drinking destination. Now if we could only fill the empty storefronts that line Harwood Avenue, things could really turn around.

Tosa's Cafe Hollander is located at 7677 West State Street. It is open weekdays at 7am and closes at 2am (Bar time). Saturday & Sunday it opens at 8 am. Friday & Saturday it closes at  2:30am (Bar Time). In other words, you'll have plenty of opportunities to stop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a drink.

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