The Venice Club's last day of business will be Friday, May 9, manager Casper Balistreri said today from Atlanta, after trying to negotiate with a division of PNC Bank that owns the mortgage on the restaurant.
"We've been in business since 1947," Balistreri said. "That's 67 years, and we've been in Brookfield for 31 years. We've been a part of that community for all those years and had wonderful customers, and we want to thank all of them for being our friends and customers."
The owner of the Venice Club, Balistreri's sister Antoinette Balistreri Radler, died in January, leaving the fate of the restaurant uncertain. Balistreri said Radler had a mortgage with Legacy Bank in Milwaukee, but the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation bought that loan about 2008 when the market went downhill. Casper said PNC bank then bought the loan on the Venice Club in a bundle of other loans. He said the bank now plans to auction that off.
The Venice Club didn't go down without a fight. Balistreri and his wife, Sara Balistreri, continued managing the restaurant after Radler's passing, along with a team of longtime managers and employees. They hoped to buy the the restaurant back, but were unable to meet the asking price.
Casper said he and his wife will be sad to leave the restaurant but will always remember their time there.
"One of our slogans was the Venice Club is the soul of Italy and the heart of Brookfield," Casper said. "And my wife said that's how she wants everyone to remember the Venice Club."
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