The qualifications of Laurel Red Cloud to open an Italian restaurant can hardly be questioned: a second-generation restaurateur, born of Sicilian parents and involved in the business since childhood.
She will do just that in Oak Creek with Sadie's, a new Italian restaurant that will open in the former La Terraza building, 9454 S. Howell Ave.
Red Cloud and her husband, Robert Penny, plan to open by the end of the month. Customers will see pastas, steaks, seafood, salads and sandwiches among the items on the menu, along with made-from-scratch sauces, dressings and soups.
"We're excited for people to come in and try our food," Red Cloud said. "We're going to be introducing some unique things to the area."
Red Cloud described Sadie's, which will open every day at 11 a.m., as "upscale casual." She also plans to introduce breakfast items on the weekends.
Red Cloud and Penny used to eat at La Terraza, which closed last summer. They always liked the location at the corner of Howell Avenue and Ryan Road and the gazebo feature on the west side of the building. After seeing it close, Red Cloud made a phone call and got to work.
"We were looking for a good location for a nice little Italian (restaurant), traditional but with a twist," she said.
She and Penny previously owned Lisa Marie's Cafe in Wauwatosa. In January, they announced they were closing that restaurant and opening the Italian eatery in Oak Creek. They are leasing space from the building's owner, whom Red Cloud declined to name but is listed in city records as Zegneli Investments 1 LLC.
Red Cloud and Penny have been busy renovating the inside of the space, which will continue in the next few weeks with new painting and carpeting. Exterior renovations will be done when the weather gets warmer in the spring, Red Cloud said.
Red Cloud has been in and out of the business her whole life and knows a thing or two about Italian cooking. In 1957, her parents and aunt and uncle opened an Italian restaurant near Oakland Avenue and Locust Street in Milwaukee and ran it successfully until the mid-1980s.
Red Cloud said she is looking forward to bringing her family recipes and years of experience to the city.
"We're excited to serve Oak Creek," she said. "We're about incredible food and awesome service and people just feeling comfortable and welcome.
"We want people to come in here and eat our food and not say, 'Oh, it was good.' We want them to saw 'Wow, this is great.'"