Come mid-January, there will be a new captain at the helm of Wauwatosa’s North Avenue Grill. Partners Jon Anne Willow and Patti Wenzel have sold the nascent New American diner to kitchen veteran Mike Topolovich.
Opened in the spring of 2012 by Willow, Wenzel, Mehrdad Dalamie and Michael Gull, North Avenue Grill was designed to be a casual, neighborhood mainstay offering classic diner fare with a New American flavor and a diverse, gluten-free menu.
Topolovich says he will stay true to the original idea, adding his own expertise and creative thinking and focusing heavily on classic comfort food.
Topolovich has been the kitchen engine behind nearby John’s Sandwich Shop for the last 15 years, with the exception of a five-year engagement with the Hideaway in Franklin.
He found his calling at the age of 15, when John’s owner, Peter Hyndiuk, paid the high school sophomore to clean up the café’s parking lot.
“The joke is that I came to pick up the trash and never left,” says Topolovich, now in his 30s.
At John’s, Topolovich built a loyal fan base, and hopes to do the same in his new abode.
“I’m not a classically trained chef,” said Topolovich. “I just love making great food, and I’m good at it. I intend to streamline the menu and focus more on comfort food and classic specials.
"We’ll do breakfast all day and still offer gluten free options to our customers."
North Avenue Grill will operate under the current owners through Sunday, Jan. 13, open only days next week. Topolovich will then close for a couple of weeks to make changes to the kitchen, test recipes and prepare for his own opening, sometime in late January or early February.
For more information, visit the website at www.northavenuegrill.com, like on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NorthAvenueGrill or follow on Twitter, @NorthAveGrill. North Avenue Grill is located at 7225 W. North Ave. in Wauwatosa. The phone number is 414-453-7225.