GREEN BAY – Republic Chophouse, a fine-dining steakhouse, opened at 218 N. Adams St., in downtown Green Bay roughly 13 years ago.
Now the owners behind Republic Chophouse are expanding their expertise and adding Italian food to their resumes with the opening of Mangiare.
Mangiare will open in mid-July at 121 N. Adams St., next to Angelina’s and a block down the street from Republic Chophouse.
Patrick Neph, a co-owner of the two restaurants, said Mangiare means “to eat” or “eat up” in Italian.
Neph cited two driving forces behind the opening of the new restaurant: a desire to make Italian food and a chance to give their employees more opportunities.
“We’ve been talking about doing Italian for a long time, as a complement to Republic,” Neph said. “But also, we want it to give more opportunity to our people in this industry.”
Neph said the roughly 45 employees at Republic Chophouse have been trained to work in both restaurants in order to allow them to work hours in both places and become full-time workers and qualify for health benefits.
The building that houses Mangaire has been home to a number of other businesses, most notably the Candlestick Lounge. In order to prepare the space for Mangaire, the building was completely remodeled and everything — excluding only the vent system in the kitchen — was gutted and replaced.
“When we came in, we encountered a lot of things inside the building because of its age,” Neph said. “It’s like peeling an onion, you peel off a layer, and all of a sudden you open up all of these issues.”
Despite all the work that needed to go into the new restaurant, Neph said he wanted to preserve the history of the building — which he did by exposing the original brick in the dining room.
Mangiare differs from Republic Chophouse in more than just cuisine. While Republic offers a fine-dining experience, Mangaire is meant for the family. The prices at the new restaurant reflect the shift with many items below $20.
Leading up to the restaurants opening, Neph said they are looking to hire an additional 10 to 15 employees.
“We worked very hard to build our brand,” Neph said about Republic Chophouse. “We have a very good reputation. We want to move into this genre to open up more opportunity for our own people and then for the community.”
Alexandria Bursiek Kloehn is a business reporter for the Green Bay Press-Gazette. You can reach her at email@example.com or view her Twitter profile at @bursiekkloehn.