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Tusa Restaurant & Tavern: Old-fashioned Italian value

July 18, 2012

Most restaurant owners start out wanting to create a restaurant that is new - unlike anything else in the area. A year ago, when Therese Guadesi and Tony DePalma opened Tusa Italian Restaurant & Tavern in Brookfield, they had a different approach: "We wanted to go back about 40 years to what people knew Italian restaurants to be. Thin crust pizzas, spaghetti and mostaccioli, Italian salad," Guadesi explains.

That theme, which is punctuated by the oldies music played throughout the restaurant, makes Tusa a nice destination for families looking to have an old-fashioned Italian meal, without spending an arm and a leg.

Tusa, named after the town in Sicily from which DePalma's family originates, is located on Capitol Drive in a small strip mall set back from the road. They specialize in pizza, but offer a complete menu of Italian items sure to fill up and please anyone.

"Our main goal is to offer everything freshly made to order," Gaudesi says. "Nothing is made ahead of time. Specific requests are accommodated."

There are eight pizzas on the menu, but you could certainly customize any of them and create even more choices. Most popular is the pesto pizza with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and fresh mozzarella ($12.75 to $22.75). Another signature item is actually considered an appetizer: homemade garlic knots, which are a twist on garlic bread ($3.25 to $6.50.) Every other Saturday, Tusa features the Speidini Dinner with Steak ($17.95).

Along with the Italian menu and full bar, Tusa also features live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the summer and on Saturdays only during the rest of the year.

For Guadesi, the message is that the customer deserves the best.

The Basics

NAME: Tusa Restaurant & Tavern

ADDRESS: 17495 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield

PHONE: (262) 790-8872

FARE: Italian

HOURS: 3:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 3:30 to 11 p.m. Friday, 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday and 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday

PRICE RANGE: $5 to $24 (approximate)

RESERVATIONS: yes

HANDICAP ACCESS: yes

GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS: no

LOOKING TO 'GRAB A BITE'?

"Grab a Bite" is an informal look at the food scene in the Wauwatosa, Brookfield and Elm Grove area by freelance writer Karen Waldkirch. Whether you're looking for a place for a date night or a casual spot for lunch, Waldkirch will be out and about scouting eateries for you. If you have a suggestion for a column, e-mail her at kmwaldkirch@yahoo.com.

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