The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Mona Lisa’s restaurant expands, adding extra room

More room means changes are on the way for a Water Street restaurant.

Mona Lisa’s Restaurant, 428 Water St., is a couple months into the process of expanding. The restaurant is building a party room in the space where The Tannery used to be.

The addition to the contemporary Italian restaurant is expected to be finished in June or July, owner Lisa Aspenson said. Delays occurred because of difficulties getting structural changes approved due to the Camaraderie fire.

The new room will seat 100 people. Customers will be able to rent the room for events, such as wedding rehearsals and dinners, graduation parties, faculty parties and board meetings, Aspenson said.

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She said they decided to expand because they get a lot of calls for private parties, but don’t close the restaurant to the public for them. She said the expansion will be a way for people to have private parties on days the restaurant is open to the public.

“Parties are always fun and we’ve only been able to have them on days that we’re closed,” Aspenson said.

She said the party room will have its own European-style bar and customers who rent the room will be able to choose their menu. The room also will have large banquet tables and will adjoin the outdoor seating in the back of the restaurant, Aspenson said.

“(The banquet room) will have a quaint, Mediterranean flair,” she said.

The front of the addition will be redone to match the existing restaurant.

Aspenson said she plans to have special wine-tasting nights once a month where they will offer a six-course meal and customers will be able to purchase different types of wines to taste that night.

Aspenson said she hopes to have live jazz music on those nights and also is interested in using talent from the university.

Sophomore Carin Larson, a waitress at the restaurant, is excited about the addition.

“I think it’s awesome because we’ll be able to get live music,” Larson said.

The party room will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays. Aspenson said parties already are booked.

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Mona Lisa’s restaurant expands, adding extra room