CORRECTION: A previous version of this story mistakenly reported the name of the new business as Cheezeheads. Milwaukee Record apologizes for the error.
For the past few months, Bay View pizza joint Pizza Di Famiglia, 2242 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., has been closed for remodeling. But that remodeling seems to have taken a more drastic turn: the Pizza Di Famiglia space is set to become a late-night “mac and cheese parlor” called Makk ‘n’ Cheese.
The new business comes with new owners. Marcos Ramos-Garcia is the primary agent for the recently established LLC behind Makk ‘n’ Cheese, KRS Hospitality Group. Ramos-Garcia is a professional salsa and bachata dancer, the owner of Werk Latin Dance Company, and the owner of Points View Boite. Two more Makk ‘n’ Cheese agents, Greg Kieckbusch and Frank Sandino-Badillo, are co-owners of Mangos Cafe and the upcoming Juana Taco Co. at Crossroads Collective.
At a Licenses Committee meeting Tuesday morning, Ramos-Garcia explained that while mac and cheese will be the focus of Makk ‘n’ Cheese (the double “k,” of course, is in reference to “Kinnickinnic”), the business will also feature a “members-only” speakeasy called Blind Tiger. Further discussion with the committee clarified that the “members-only” aspect would be less of an “exclusivity” thing and more of a “sign up for our mailing list” kind of thing.
“We’re excited to be in the neighborhood,” said Ramos-Garcia at Tuesday’s meeting.
“So is this mac and cheese good?” asked Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs.
“It better be! You’re going to have to come and find out!” replied Ramos-Garcia.
According to a license application, food is expected to make up 65 percent of Makk ‘n’ Cheese’s sales, with alcohol at 25 percent and entertainment at 10 percent. Hours are expected to be Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. – 3:30 a.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. – 2 a.m. Capacity is listed at 49. Ramos-Garcia tells us he’s aiming for a mid- to late-February opening.
Pizza Di Famiglia opened in April 2018. During a license renewal meeting in 2019, it was revealed that some patrons had complained of being overcharged when using their debit or credit cards, and that owner Besart Bajrami had been charged with four misdemeanor counts of failure to pay employees at his Slice of New York Pizzeria in Kenosha. Bajrami’s license was ultimately renewed “with a proviso that three incidents included in the Milwaukee Police Report would be held open and reviewed again in a year when Bajrami’s licenses would again be up for renewal.”