Milwaukee’s New Safina Restaurant Opening Downtown This Fall


A version of Giovanni’s restaurant returns to Milwaukee in a more casual establishment still centered on the family recipes of the Safina family.

The restaurant, named Safina’s, will be run by three brothers, Giuseppe (Joe), David and Sal Safina. Their father, Giovanni Safina, will also be part of the business, pounding and cutting the veal as he did at the previous restaurant.

The new restaurant is coming in October to the former Phoenix Cocktail Lounge space at 783-785 N. Jefferson St.

The area is really a mix of young and old with the hotels in the area, Jazz in the Park, Bastille Days, so we wanted to make it a more welcoming place for everyone,” said Joe Safina. -end, Safina’s is more relaxed.”

The menu will feature comfort food with Sicilian and southern Italian roots. Some dishes at Safina include Sicilian-style pork chops, branzino, black fettuccine, and bolognese. Appetizers include plates like bruschetta, salami and cheese plates and eggplant strips.

The restaurant will have a full bar and a second level for additional seating. The vibe will be rustic, modern Italian with wood and marble finishes, Joe Safina said.

It’s been over four years since the brothers closed Giovanni’s on North King Drive. Prior to this, the restaurant was Tutto, a sports bar also owned by the brothers.

Joe Safina has remained in the local restaurant industry since then, assisting at Sanford and as a sous chef at Harwood Place. Sal and David Safina own The Sofie cocktail lounge, next to the new Safina restaurant.

“We’re excited and I think it’s going to be a good thing,” said Joe Safina. “We have a lot of customers who come to our other establishments and ask us when we are going to reopen a restaurant.”

Jordyn Noennig covers Wisconsin culture and lifestyle. Follow her on Instagram @JordynTaylor_n. Find her on Twitter @JordynTNoennig. Call her at 262-446-6601 or email


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