Join us for an exploration of Wauwatosa’s history as we meander the city’s most stunning parks and landscapes. To get a real taste of Tosa’s past, Eric chats it up with local historian Jeff Roznowski at The Landing at Hoyt Park (https://friendsofhoytpark.org). Eric walks the Menomonee foot bridge at Hoyt Park, where the Menomonee Native Americans used to fish, and uncovers ancient treasure at Hartung Park, a landscape sprinkled with prehistoric fossils (www.wauwatosa.net/discover-tosa/parks/hartung-park).
Then, he discovers the mysteries of County Grounds Park, still home to many remnants of an 1800s insane asylum (https://tosahistory13.wixsite.com/tosa). Now that Eric’s legs are all warmed up, the next item on the agenda calls for some shopping. One of Wauwatosa’s main attractions, our choices range from large retail stores in the Mayfair Mall and Mayfair Collection to local shopping in and near The Village of Tosa. Exhibiting a Northwoods feel and a cozy ambiance, The Flannel Fox is a Midwestern gem and a great place to shop for locally-made goods and eco-friendly products (www.flannelfoxtosa.com). The coziness doesn’t stop there. Nestled in the basement of a stone-walled home, just outside of The Village, the Cream City Soap Co. is quite a fun secret to stumble upon (www.creamcitysoapcompany.com).
Eric learns from one of the co-owners, Alex Hero, that all soaps are made in-house and all products exhibit plastic-free packaging. We head back to The Village for a product Wisconsinites can’t say no to - cheese. Another small business that supports local farmers, The Village Cheese Shop emphasizes the importance of community (https://villagecheesetosa.com). After all that walking, Eric’s stomach is ready to get in on the action. His first stop for food resides in what was once The Village’s first bank, now Le Reve Patisserie and Cafe (https://lerevecafe.com). A full menu of French baked goods and dishes made with local ingredients, this restaurant is not one to miss. We explore more baked goods and more local flavors at Rocket Baby Bakery (www.rocketbabybakery.com). At Ca’Lucchenzo, we explore an elegant yet homelike dining experience that serves up some unique spins on Italian cuisine (www.calucchenzo.com). Then we hop on board for a culinary tour of Italy at Ristorante Bartolotta dal 1993 where we join Founder Paul Bartolotta and Executive Chef Juan Urbieta who share their story and love for Italian cooking (www.bartolottas.com/ristorante-bartolotta).
[Learn more about Executive Chef Juan Urbieta in this Know Your Wisconsin feature: https://youtu.be/mHBIiDEb1UI] Eric’s food exploration turns adolescent as he crushes some donuts at Cranky Al’s (www.crankyals.com), then heads to Ruckus and Glee (https://ruckusandglee.com) to play with some toys and partake in a foam sword fight with Jackson. Later, he meets up with his god kids at First and Bowl (https://firstandbowl.com), where he challenges them in basketball Connect 4, football bowling and a game of giant bags. They tucker him out a bit more at Hart Park in some curling and racing around the track. Finally, we meet up with Jeff again for some final notes about Wauwatosa’s history. A community that mirrors the essence of a firefly’s guiding light, it’s a great place for so many to call home.
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