“How you doin’?” asked the voice on the other end of the phone, and I knew exactly who it was.
It was Sal Purpora, of course, owner of Salvatore’s/Papa Luigi’s II in downtown South Milwaukee, and he was calling with good news.
His message: He is planning to formally reopen his facility – closed for nearly a year and a half due to more than $1.6 million in water damage from a burst sprinkler system pipe – in phases starting at the end of this month.
First, it will be for bowling leagues and select banquets – with the bar open during times when the facility is in use. Then will come the kitchen, restaurant, and gym space, although remodeling those parts of the building may take a year or more as Sal continues to allocate money from his restaurant supply business and Cudahy location to South Milwaukee.
So, it will take some time. But I am still very excited that Sal, for the first time, is making this formal, public announcement of his plans to reopen – and for what this means for downtown. It is significant progress, and a definitive answer to the question I know many fans of Papa Luigi’s had: “Will Sal ever rebuild?”
One key part of the rebuilding effort was installation a costly new sprinkler system, and that occurred in recent weeks. Our inspectors signed off on it recently. With this in place, this allowed us to grant him permanent occupancy. (Bowling leagues and small events were being held at Papa Luigi’s based on a temporary occupancy permit since 2014.)
I want to thank our fire and inspection departments for their work in assisting Sal in the formal reopening process. Sal was highly complimentary of their efforts, and as mayor that is great to hear. I want South Milwaukee to be known as “open for business,” and we are.
Look for more information soon on the reopening plan.
Sal is already accepting banquet bookings for groups of 50 or more, with food — cooked fresh, made to order and delivered within 15 minutes — for now being catered in from his Cudahy location. Contact Janet (414-807-4965), Frank (414-839-3988) or their Cudahy restaurant location after 4 p.m. for bookings.
And I’ll keep you posted as his phased reopening continues. In the meantime, please join me in officially welcoming Sal back to South Milwaukee. Really, he never left.