Dining options in village to expand

Catering business drove restaurant owner to breathe new life into site of former eateries despite pandemic

EFTHIMIOS “TIM” TRIANTAFILLOU stood outside his newest restaurant, the Woodside Bar and Grill in Saukville, on Tuesday. Triantafillou, who also owns the Prime Minister restaurant in Thiensville and Seven Hills Pub and Grille and Lepanto Banquet Hall in Port Washington, plans to open the new restaurant in fall. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

Saukville is getting a new restaurant but not a new restaurateur.

Efthimios “Tim” Triantafillou has been a fixture in Ozaukee County ever since he opened the Prime Minister restaurant in Thiensville in 1994 and four years ago the Seven Hills Pub and Grille and Lepanto Banquet Hall in the Country Inn and Suites hotel in Port Washington.

Now he’s planning his third restaurant, the Woodside Bar and Grill, in the building that formerly housed Bublitz’s and La Chimenea restaurants at 150 S. Foster Dr.

Triantafillou got approvals from the village last month and expects to close on the purchase from Nick Maier, owner of Mr. Mover, on March 14. This week the village approved his liquor license.

His wife Bessie said they expect to open this fall.

“There’s a lot of work to do. We have to do a lot of  remodeling and put in new equipment. They removed everything out of it,” he said.

The 6,600-square-foot building has been empty for several years.

Meier bought the building a year ago with the intention of using part of it as an office.

Ownership of the building also includes ownership of a large pole sign on I-43, which used to advertise the restaurants that operated there.

Maier had intended to rent out the sign to other businesses but Triantafillou said he intends to use it to promote his new restaurant exclusively.

Now might seem an unusual time to open a restaurant with the Covid-19 pandemic very much on the minds of consumers, but Triantafillou said he is not worried.

“We’ve been doing OK with the Prime Minister and Seven Hills. We do a lot of catering and serve a lot of factories,” he said. “I’m not going to worry about it. And we do a lot of weddings. Maybe the inside business is down a little bit. But we do home deliveries and takeout.”

Triantafillou also contracts with Ozaukee County to serve lunches at the county’s senior meal sites, including in Port Washington and Grafton.

His catering business includes supplying customers from Green Bay to Lake Geneva and Wisconsin Dells to Milwaukee, he said.

That includes catering 200 weddings a year and lunches to large factories like Master Lock Co. in Milwaukee and Guy and O’Neill in Fredonia.

His booming catering business is one reason he bought the Saukville location.

“It has a bigger kitchen and it will be easier to do our catering from there,” he said.

Triantafillou said the Woodside Bar and Grill will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. He expects to employ 25 people.

Triantafillou got into the restaurant business almost by accident in 1994, and against the advice of his wife, Vasilike, known as Bessie.

Born in Greece, Triantafillou learned to work with tile and marble. He was working afternoons when he was in sixth grade and was working full-time in the construction business by the time he was 15.

In 1976, he moved to Chicago from Greece to work for his brother’s construction business. That’s where he met Bessie, who was visiting from Milwaukee and whose uncle owned a restaurant.

“She told me don’t ever go into the restaurant business. You’ll never have a night off or a weekend or a holiday,” he said.

In 1984, they got married and moved to Milwaukee, where he started his own construction business, he said.

He heeded Bessie’s advice until the early 1990s.

“In 1992, I was remodeling a house in Thiensville where there used to be a McDonald’s. They had a for sale sign,” he said.

“I called my wife and showed her the property. It looked like a good investment,” he said.

By 1994, the Prime Minister was born, which Bessie oversees.

And, true to Bessie’s prediction, they never close, except for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day so their employees can enjoy the holidays, Triantafillou said.

“Even last year, someone was willing to pay me double and I said, ‘I’m sorry. I made a commitment to my employees.’”

Bessie said their success couldn’t have happened without the love and support of their customers, especially over the last year.

“Our loyal customers have over the years become like our extended family,” she said. “They’ve helped us push past the most difficult part of the Covid shut down.”



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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