Michael Horne

Amilinda Restaurant Opening Downtown

Formerly a pop-up restaurant at the National, it will now be permanently located at 315 E. Wisconsin Ave., with an expected opening in June.

By - Jan 22nd, 2015 06:24 pm
The staff of Amilinda catered an event for the Milwaukee River Commons at the home of Julilly Kohler. Photo by Michael Horne.

The staff of Amilinda catered an event for the Milwaukee River Commons at the home of Julilly Kohler. Photo by Michael Horne.

A pop-up restaurant has settled on a permanent site on E. Wisconsin Avenue, according to Owner / Chef Gregory León.

Amilinda “draws from the culinary traditions of Spain and Portugal,” according to León, and will open around June in a long-vacant restaurant location at 315 E. Wisconsin Ave. that previously had been Taste of Thai and Tai Makii. It also had a long run as a fast food wok restaurant.

Previously, Amilinda operated Saturdays as a pop-up restaurant to showcase the chef’s talents at The National, 839 W. National Ave., which had not been open for dinner. The last pop-up dinner at that location was held on January 17th. With the departure of Amilinda, the National will now offer dinner. More for us to eat.

León figures he will have the new location ready by about June. In the meantime, the new location will require being refitted to his purposes. Not much is left in the place, a recent visit showed. León and his staff were busy inspecting the stainless steel ventilation hood which is installed right in the front window of the building. It’s going to need a cleaning, that’s for sure.

As León and his crew work on their new home, they will continue to offer other services. The website offers a cooking school and catering services, even while the pop-up restaurant has had its run.

Leon and a staff of two capably handled catering for a gathering of 32 people Wednesday night at the riverfront residence of Julilly Kohler.  Attendees at the fundraiser for the Milwaukee Water Commons Project were served massive grilled shrimp and skewered tenderloin among other treats, including cornmeal and kale cubes. The chef brought all his own equipment, but asked the hostess if he could use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet of hers to do justice to those shrimp. Permission granted!

About the Building

The new home of Amilinda restaurant on E. Wisconsin Ave. Photo by Michael Horne.

The new home of Amilinda restaurant on E. Wisconsin Ave. Photo by Michael Horne.

Amilinda is located in a building at 315 E. Wisconsin Ave. [originally 111 Wisconsin Ave.] that is one of several adjoining units owned by MBI real estate company. The building, which includes Alem Ethiopian Village, is assessed at $985,000, with the new restaurant space set to occupy 2,000 square feet out of the building’s total 16,200 square feet of rentable space. The city assessor estimates the annual rental of the space at $17.71 per square foot, or $35,420. The building is said to date from 1891; however this portion appears to be perhaps two decades older, with an ornamental storefront facade that may date to perhaps the 1920s. It is among the more attractive storefronts downtown. In 1910 the complex was known as the Marshall Building.

The building is one of a number on the block owned by MBI, which is run by the family of attorney Michael Levine, who remembers spending his childhood days here while his mother ran the Hallmark store in the family-owned building. Levine sold some of the family property for construction of the Marriott Hotel, and it was he who offered the N. Broadway location for Downtown Books, which was relocated to accommodate the hotel construction.

The new location will be close to the streetcar track in a portion of Downtown that has seen a resurgence of restaurant activity, including Millioke, the Marriott restaurant located across the alley to the east. The Surg restaurant group continues the reinvention of its N. Milwaukee St. restaurants nearby, and traffic is generally picking up in the area.

Amilinda will continue to work in partnership with local producers, when possible, with emphasis on local produce, meats and cheeses.

About the Chef

Gregory León was born in Oklahoma, but spend his childhood years in Venezuela “growing up around the kitchen table,” as he put it, before embarking on a restaurant career in San Francisco. Along the way, he toured Europe as a working chef, and grew fond of the cuisines of the Iberian Peninsula. According to his biography, “not only is Chef León’s experience in the preparation of food and day-to-day operations of the kitchen, but also in the opening and rebranding of restaurants.”

Amilinda Facebook page.

Amilinda Flickr photostream link.

Photo Gallery


0 thoughts on “Dining: Amilinda Restaurant Opening Downtown”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Your review definitely makes me want to try Amilinda! (Does the name have a meaning – I know that “linda” means “pretty” in Spanish?)

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