225 So. building sold to Chef Jack for caterer’s expansion
Mia Famiglia plans to relocate

By Hannah Weikel - Freeman Staff

Oct. 13, 2017


 Chef Jack’s Catering plans to buy both 215 and 225 South, which currently houses Mia Famiglia.
Hannah Weikel/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA — Waukesha's well-known caterer Chef Jack Fisher has plans to purchase the 225 South building in an effort to expand his operations and offer customers a showroom for linens, taste testing and table settings, but it will abruptly end the family-owned Italian restaurant that has leased the address since 2015.

The building's owner chose to sell instead of renewing 225 South Mia Famiglia's lease, so the restaurant will have its last night of service next Saturday.

Fisher said purchase of the building closes on Nov. 1, along with the building directly next door at 215 South Ave., which he has leased for nearly 30 years from the daughter of Johnny Shoeshine.

The owner of 225 South, Kevin Sinnett, has leased the building to Mia Famiglia since May 2015.

Tom White, owner of Mia Famiglia, said he knew the building was for sale, but he and his wife, son and two daughters couldn't afford to buy the space themselves — listed for $650,000.

White said they will shift focus to farmers markets and selling to Outpost Natural Foods stores in the area while they search for another location in the Milwaukee area.

“We are sad because we met so many nice people in Waukesha,” White said. “We'd like to see all our customers back again before we go.”

Before coming to Waukesha, Mia Famiglia operated in Hales Corners for 14 years.

White said he hasn't broken the news to all of his employees yet. He and his family found out about the sale a week and a half ago.

“We are very glad Chef Jack got the building,” he said. “He's one of the best caterers for weddings in the Midwest.”

‘Hundreds and hundreds of tastings’

Fisher's catering has been growing and expanding for many years and was beginning to outgrow the space it inhabits at 215 South, he said, and the venue next door — with its brick exterior, bar, kitchen and dining hall — was just right for the company's vision of the future.

Fisher said his son, Eric, has all but taken over the business and plans to do more showcasing of tables, settings, linens and even lighting.

“It was really Eric's idea to have this fabulous sampling room,” Fisher said. “We do hundreds and hundreds of tastings and it's the perfect venue for us.”

Chef Jack’s catering does weddings and events across the state and employs 15 fulltime and 75 to 100 part-time workers.

Fisher said the space at 215 South is easy to walk by, and “no one knows we're here.” He plans to keep 225 South exactly as it is and make good use of the alleyway between both buildings.

According to Fisher, Sinnett was anxious to sell 225 South for a while and the owner of 215 South, Ann Goings, is finally ready to sell her building as well, so the timing was perfect.

“Waukesha's our home,” Fisher said. “This has all been a long time coming.”