The Itsines family of New Berlin is opening a new gyros and pizza restaurant in Hales Corners. Brothers Gyros & Pizza is expected to open in mid-November at 5158 A. S. 108th St., the site of the former Honey Dip Donuts. Steve (second from left) and his wife Chrisanti are shown with the couple’s three sons, Stefanos (far left), George (far right), and Demetri (second from right), who died in a traffic accident in November 2018. (Photo: Submitted)
A new pizza and gyros restaurant is coming to Hales Corners.
Brothers Gyros & Pizza will be opening in the space formerly occupied by Honey Dip Donuts at 5158-A S. 108th St.
It’s expected to open by mid-November.
Steve Itsines, 64, of New Berlin, who will run the business with his wife Chrisanti and his sons Stefanos and George, is no stranger to the restaurant game, but the route to opening the eatery took some tragic twists and turns.
In November 2018, the couple’s 26-year-old son Demetri — brother to Stefanos and George — was killed in a traffic accident.
A bit more than a year later, the entrepreneurial Steve, who had transitioned from the restaurant to the hotel business, was going to make another career change and take a swing at the golf industry.
He was preparing to buy out his friend Tom Major, co-owner of Moorland Road Golf Center, when Major died of a heart attack in January 2020.
“I basically was waiting for that opportunity for almost five years, and on the way home my boys said to me, ‘Hey Dad, this Honey Dip Donuts is out, I think that would make a great gyros place.'”
Itsines said he called the landlord, found the rent was reasonable, and decided to proceed with the plan.
The challenge of opening a new restaurant as the pandemic continues to force a large percentage of restaurants to close is not lost on him.
“The numbers are pretty up there, but basically I just want to do this for my family and my boys and my wife,” he said. “We’re going to all be working together.”
George, 23, recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with an entrepreneurial degree. Stefanos, 26, has a degree in business from Arizona State University.
The “Brothers” name is a reference to the couple’s three sons and a tribute to Demetri. The restaurant’s logo features a silhouette of the trio.
The restaurant will feature gyros and pizzas, along with salads, shish kebabs and other items.
“So really, really good quality food,” Itsines said. “My standards are very high.”
Itsines used to own Forum Family Restaurant in Brookfield, opening it in 1992 after moving to Southeastern Wisconsin from New York.
He then ran Casa di Pasta, an Italian restaurant in Franklin that featured a piano player and strolling musicians.
Now it’s a gyros place on Highway 100.
Hales Corners Chamber of Commerce president Kenneth Goltz said it’s another sign the village is not only a great place to live, but a place to get a good meal, too.
“We are turning into a kind of foodie’s paradise in a way,” Goltz said. “You don’t have to go down to the east side or downtown to get something good. We’ve got it right here, and pretty much the whole spectrum from good sit-down to grab-and-go pizza.”
Work to transform the 1,800-square-foot space is ongoing.
The inside of the restaurant will feature an open-style kitchen, seating for 40 to 50 people, and Mediterranean themes.
“Everything’s going to look totally different from what it was,” Itsines said. “We’re going to have some nice artwork in there.”
There will be no outdoor seating to start, but Itsines said they’re hoping to add it next year.
Still pending is village approval for a drive-in pickup window. A public hearing on that request is set for the Oct. 19 plan commission meeting.
Itsines is excited about having a high-visibility location on Highway 100, especially now that a major construction project on the busy corridor has been completed.
“Even though it’s part of a plaza, basically it is out front, so it really looks like a free-standing building,” he said. “So I think with proper signage we should get a great amount of traffic flow looking at our place on a daily business.”
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