Milwaukee wine aficionados plan to open Pipsqueak Wine in East Tosa neighborhood

Heather Mitchell and Jonathan Blechman, pictured with their child Owen, plan to open a cozy, family-friendly wine shop and bar called Pipsqueak Wine at 6410 W. North Ave.
Heather Mitchell and Jonathan Blechman, pictured with their child Owen, plan to open a cozy, family-friendly wine shop and bar called Pipsqueak Wine at 6410 W. North Ave.

Two wine aficionados who first met in a New York City wine bar are bringing a wine bar and shop to East Tosa.

Pipsqueak Wine at 6410 W. North Ave. will be a cozy and family-friendly place owned and operated by Heather Mitchell and Jonathan Blechman, according to a business application submitted to the city of Wauwatosa. The Common Council approved a conditional use permit for the wine shop Feb. 20 at the Plan Commission's recommendation.

"Our mission is to provide both locals and people from all over Milwaukee with access to a well curated selection of small production and natural wine in a beautiful setting," the owners said in their application.

Wine has connected Mitchell and Blechman since they first met in a New York City wine bar.

Mitchell has worked nationwide and internationally in the wine industry for the past 20 years, most recently as the wine director at Black Sheep MKE. Blechman began his career as a sommelier in 2007 and most recently has managed Thief Wine in the Milwaukee Public Market for the past two years, according to the application.

The couple had talked about opening a wine shop and bar for many years and even tried to start a business in Chicago, Mitchell said. Since moving to Milwaukee three years ago, starting a family and buying a house in Washington Heights, Pipsqueak Wine now feels like "the next step," Mitchell said.

Neighboring businesses, the City of Wauwatosa and others in the Milwaukee area have welcomed and supported Mitchell and Blechman as they worked hard to bring Pipsqueak Wine to life.

Compared to the process of creating a business in Chicago, “everything’s been a breeze here,” Mitchell said.

Heather Mitchell and Jonathan Blechman plan to open a cozy, family-friendly wine shop and bar called Pipsqueak Wine at 6410 W. North Ave.
Heather Mitchell and Jonathan Blechman plan to open a cozy, family-friendly wine shop and bar called Pipsqueak Wine at 6410 W. North Ave.

Younger family clientele, walkability attracted Pipsqueak Wine owners to East Tosa

As longtime New Yorkers before moving to the Midwest, the pair never thought their business dream would find a home in the suburbs, Mitchell said. But East Tosa's walkability and the growing number of young families in Wauwatosa make North Avenue feel like a good fit for Pipsqueak.

“That’s something we miss since leaving New York, walking everywhere," Mitchell said. She hopes the wine bar and shop becomes an accessible place in the neighborhood people can walk to on a cold night or when they need a break from the craziness at home.

Pipsqueak Wine plans to offer an extensive selection of authentic and natural bottled wines, wines by the glass and a curated selection of beer. Customers will be able to buy a bottle to take home or enjoy in-house for a small additional fee of about $10, Mitchell said.

The natural wine selection will include wines from mostly European regions, along with some domestic and New World wines from outside Europe. Shelves will be stocked with natural wines from small producers absent of chemicals and added flavoring, yeast or coloring, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said she wants Pipsqueak Wine to erase any pretentiousness that some people might feel with the wine industry.

“I want people to feel welcome coming in,” and comfortable to ask questions about wine, Mitchell said.

Pipsqueak Wine in East Tosa plans to open late May or June

The proposed wine bar's building on North Avenue was previously home to Queen Status Beauty Co., a hair salon, according to Google Maps and the salon's Facebook page.

The owners plan to split the space in two, having a larger retail area with limited seating and a smaller, more intimate bar area.

Pipsqueak Wine at 6410 W. North Ave. will be a cozy and family-friendly place owned and operated by Heather Mitchell and Jonathan Blechman, according to a business application submitted to the city of Wauwatosa.
Pipsqueak Wine at 6410 W. North Ave. will be a cozy and family-friendly place owned and operated by Heather Mitchell and Jonathan Blechman, according to a business application submitted to the city of Wauwatosa.

Pipsqueak Wine won't have a full-sized kitchen; however it will have a small prep station behind the bar for cheese, charcuterie plates and light snacks.

Mitchell said the wine shop and bar will open in late May or early June.

Pipsqueak Wine proposed the following hours of operation: Monday and Wednesday noon to 8 p.m. with the bar opening at 4 p.m., Thursday and Friday noon to 9 p.m. with the bar opening at 4 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The shop and bar would be closed on Tuesdays.

Reporter Bridget Fogarty can be reached at bfogarty@gannett.com

Editor's note, 3/1/24: This story was edited to include context of the support Pipsqueak Wine owners received in the process of creating the business.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Pipsqueak Wine bar and shop planned for North Avenue in East Tosa