Weekend Eats: Four star Mangia hires new chef

Happy Hour in Mangia Lounge is held Wednesday through Saturday from 5 – 7 p.m. – KenoshaMangia.org

by Long Hwa-shu

Mangia Wine Bar in Kenosha has a new chef with a new menu befitting the four-star restaurant famous for its Italian cuisine.

James Shields, known for cooking with a flair, came from Kentucky where he worked at Mezzo Italian Café & Provisions in Midway and the fine dining Distilled Restaurant & Bourbon Bar in Lexington.

Shields, 39, heard about the opening at Mangia and applied for it.

“He came in for an interview in June. He was hired after he showed us what he could do. We were impressed and hired him,” said Tre Mantuano, general manager.

Sea scallops at Mangia's.
Sea scallops at Mangia’s.

The restaurant at 5717 Sheridan Road in downtown Kenosha was started by his grandfather, Gene, and his father, Gino, 28 years ago in 1988. It is now owned by his aunt Sue Tishuk. His father is now in the wine business in Milwaukee who supplies the restaurant with wines and liquors.

“A new chef means a new menu,” said Tre who has a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Wisconsin at Parkside.

“As always, our menus are seasonal to allow for serving the freshest ingredients at their peak of flavor. With James in charge, the quality and flair that guests have come to expect from Mangia Wine Bar remains,” he added.

His new menu includes Cacciatore rubbed sirloin, spaghettini alle vongole and watermelon panzanella – just to name a few.

When James takes a break from the kitchen, he is often seen hobnobbing with customers and to get feedback from them to ensure that Mangia remains one of Kenosha’s most beloved restaurants.

Salsciccia pizza, one of many at Mangia's Wine Bar.
Salsciccia pizza, one of several kinds offered at Mangia’s Wine Bar.

By the way, Mangia means to eat in Italian. Coincidentally, it sounds a bit like the two Chinese words “man-chi,” which means eat slowly to enjoy your food. One may wonder if Marco Polo bring the expression back to Italy from his trip to China.

Mangia is proud to source many of the ingredients used in the dishes here, from local farms.

The restaurant is a place not only to dine, but to learn about food and beverage, and to have fun. Here are some of the upcoming events. Call for details.

  • Second annual Garlic Dinner – October 2
  • Fall Harvest Fest – October 23
  • Guys Night Out – November 3
  • Holiday Cooking Class – November 19

Mangia, a Diners’ Choice 2016 Winner for Open Table, is open five days a week and closed on Monday and Tuesday. Hours are 5-8 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday; and 5-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Sunday brunch, featuring some vegetarian and gluten-free items is 10 a.m.-1 p.m., with Sunday dinner, 4-8 p.m. For more information call 262.662.4285 or visit www.kenoshamangia.com.

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