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Take a tour of Cafe Centraal, which makes its debut at dinner tonight

Diablos Rojos Restaurant Group opens its first south side establishment, Cafe Centraal, in Bay View today. The restaurant had planned on opening for lunch today but decided it would be much safer to open for the dinner hour so they could finish with some last minute clean-ups.

Located at the intersection of Kinnickinnic and Lincoln Avenues, Cafe Centraal continues the group’s focus on European styled cafés established by Trocadero, Cafe Hollander and most recently Fat Abbey Biercafe.

Recalling the European tradition of grand central stations in a city’s center, or Centraal as it is known across Dutch and Belgian cities, Café Centraal’s architecture and décor evoke an urban transportation motif.

“My partner and I first looked at the building over a year ago and were inspired by the European feel that the intersection could provide,” said co-owner Mike Eitel. “Visually, it seems like it should be a major transit hub, connecting so many interesting neighborhoods–and begging for a light rail station to truly become ‘Downtown Bay View,’” Eitel explained.

The long bar features more than 35 different style bar stools (with many more back-ups in the basement)

The long bar features more than 35 different style bar stools (with many more back-ups in the basement)

Built of salvaged cream city brick, abandoned doors, and a mid-1800′s ballroom floor, Centraal’s bar is the focal point of the cafe. It stretches nearly the length of the building, enticing patrons to sit and partake of a Diablos Rojos trademark, an outstanding selection of Belgian and Dutch beers.

Those familiar with the menus of Fat Abbey and Cafe Hollander will find similarities at the Bay View location, but with several unique menu items, including a tribute to the new locale, the Bay View Burger. The menu also includes several sandwiches, entrees, vegetarian items and, of course, Belgian Frites with dipping sauces. Cafe Centraal will serve lunch and dinner daily as well as a weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

“With all of the development happening in the Bay View neighborhood, we felt like one of our Grand Cafes in this iconic building would act as a perfect gathering place for residents– day or night. We have seen that a great neighborhood gathering place literally brings in the local residents multiple times a week or even a couple times each day,” Eitel said. “A regular might come in for an espresso in the morning, a late lunch, and wrap up their day with friends and a few glasses of beer—all in the same day.”

Diablos Rojos Restaurant Group is known for their unique outdoor spaces and Cafe Centraal will be no exception. An “urban” courtyard is approached through an oversized glass and steel garage door. Leafy and pleasant, the courtyard features a fountain and imported electric heaters to extend the outdoor dining season.

Cafe Centraal will open weekdays at 11am (with exception on Wednesday, September 17 when they open at 5pm) and 8am on weekends. More information can be found at Thecafecentraal.com or by calling 414-755-0378.

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