A family affair
Mia Famiglia owners to take over former Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub

By Sarah Pryor - Freeman Staff

Jan. 23, 2015

WAUKESHA — When Chef Tomas White walked into the former Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub at 225 South St., he had an overwhelmingly positive feeling about the space.

“It stuck with me,” he said. “I said ‘This is our next home.’” White and his family run popular Italian restaurant Mia Famiglia in Hales Corners, but recently decided to shut its doors and downsize after their freshly made salad dressings, pastas and cheese began to take off at local farmers markets and even grocery stores like Outpost Foods.

Despite being a Catholic Memorial High School and Waukesha County Technical College graduate, White had never considered opening a restaurant — or doing anything else — in downtown Waukesha until he recently came to visit for the first time in 15 years.

“It’s like being downtown on the east side of Milwaukee but without the skyscrapers and traffic,” White said. “You can do everything you want in one neighborhood.”

White’s sister Melissa Tabler said she and her family are excited to get involved in Waukesha’s vibrant downtown community, and White is excited to offer unique dishes, many of which are gluten free.

“We have an entire glutenfree preparation area. Gluten-free pizza, pastas, bread,” said White, who is certified as a celiac diseaseapproved chef.

He hopes the new restaurant, the name of which has yet to be determined, will have a vibe similar to Elsa’s On the Park mixed with Hinterland.

The new restaurant will offer small plate pastas, gourmet hamburgers and sandwiches featuring bread baked in-house, a Sunday brunch and more, White said.

The vast majority of White’s cooking ingredients come from local farmers and creameries, and he’s looking forward to getting involved with the Waukesha Farmers Market himself.

He’ll also offer a traditional and gluten-free Friday night fish fry as well as sumptuous desserts like tiramisu.

White and his family are Sicilian and as close-knit as they come. From a cousin who runs the restaurant’s social media to a 9-year-old niece serving as hostess, White said everyone gets involved in the family business.

The Whites anticipate having the new business open in March.