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New Thai, Sushi & Burger Restaurants

Plus new Tiki and Northwoods-themed bars opening.

By - Apr 5th, 2016 03:07 pm
AJ Bombers at the Mayfair Collection. Rendering by Rinka Chung.

AJ Bombers at the Mayfair Collection. Rendering by Rinka Chung.

Durbar Restaurant and Lounge

Say hello to the new Durbar Restaurant and Lounge. What was once the Aura Restaurant, the space at the Park East Hotel, which is located at 1011 N. Astor St., has been transformed, with a new concept and new design. According to the hotel and restaurant’s owners Rick and Jay Waliathe new restaurant had its soft opening, full menu and all, on March 31st.‘s Lori Fredrich dishes the details:

“Durbar’s menu will focus on upscale fusion cuisine, pulling inspiration from both American, International and Indian fare, presented in a fine dining environment.

A sushi menu will include a variety of rolls including the California, spicy tuna, spicy salmon and spicy shrimp, along with a shrimp tempura and vegetable rolls (priced $8-11).

Starting Monday, April 4, the restaurant will also offer a daily lunch buffet between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.”

Refuge Cafe

Refuge Smoothies is opening its fourth location in May at the Catholic Financial Life Building at 1102 W. Wells St. as the company announced on Twitter. Refuge already has cafes at 758 N. Broadway, 1001 N. 4th St. and 422 E. Lincoln Ave. Their menu is highlighted by eight signature whole fruit and vegetable smoothies, but customers can also choose from a variety of fresh ingredients to build their own smoothie.

Its breakfast sanwdwiches are made with farm fresh eggs, and specialty breads. Its wraps are made with hormone free and anti-biotic free chicken or tuna, fresh vegetables, on a whole grain specialty wrap. Its stuffed avocados and peppers are the most popular item.

Refuge and its owner Joshua Janis were profiled in a story by Urban Milwaukee.

New Shorewood Burger Place

The founders of Collective Coffee, brothers Paul Miller and Lincoln and Ward Fowler, want to open a burger and soft-serve ice cream restaurant in Shorewood at 4144 N. Oakland Ave. in the process. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Carol Deptolla:

“…the restaurant is described as ‘a twist on the classic burger and ice cream joint.’

the restaurant also would serve ‘house-made, old-fashioned style soft serve ice cream along with a few other sweet
treats. Beverages will range from fountain to proprietary tapped sodas and our beer.’

Several Colectivo cafes serve Colectivo Keg Co. beer, made from the coffee roaster’s recipes and brewed under contract by 3 Sheeps in Sheboygan.

The overview also says the new restaurant’s design — which, like Colectivo cafes, has outdoor seating and creates a fluid line between indoor and outdoor spaces — ‘is an intentional counterpoint to the large format, new development along the west side of Oakland Ave.’ The design, by the Kubala Washatko Architects, is meant to ‘foster a pedestrian-friendly relationship to the sidewalk.'”

Camp Bar

This week the Northwoods-themed bar will finally open its doors at its Third Ward location, which is 525 E. Menomonee St. Owners Paul and Natalia Hackbarth said there will be a soft opening will be from Tuesday to Thursday with the grand opening on Friday. Deptolla reported on the new location:

“The Third Ward location will bake pizzas delivered daily from Cranky Al’s in Wauwatosa. The kitchen is available to caterers for private parties; a lounge that holds 100 guests can be used for events.

The new bar will open an hour earlier than the others: 3 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 2 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday and Sunday.”


In Brown Deer, a new Thai restaurant has taken over the space that once held Habanero’s, which is located at 3900 W. Brown Deer Rd. in the Kildeer Court Plaza. Restaurant veteran and owner Bang Tongkumbunjong says the cuisine is more old-school Thai food rather than street style. While the restaurant’s hours are limited during its soft opening, regular hours will begin on April 7. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Carol Deptolla reports:

“Some of the dishes he’s preparing include skewered marinated pork, an appetizer served with sticky rice ($7 for four skewers). “It’s a comfort food” that can be found on any street corner in Thailand, he said.
He also takes traditional larb and forms the chopped meat into balls and fries them for an appetizer ($8).

AppeThai serves beer and wine; Tongkumbunjon might pursue adding spirits in summer.

Regular hours starting Thursday will be 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 4:30 to 9 p.m. for dinner Monday to Saturday.”


As of Monday April 4th, this long anticipated bar and grill has finally opened its doors, which is located at 6502 W. North Ave. in Wauwatosa. With its palapa-style roof, Wauwatiki is exactly what one would expect — if not more –out of a tiki hut style bar and grill. Fredrich reports:

“Wauwatiki is bar only for now, with food coming soon. Beginning April 4, Wauwatiki will be open from 4 p.m. to close daily. Once the kitchen is open for business, the bar and restaurant will open at 11 a.m. daily.”

Hospitality Democracy

Three new restaurants will be opening in the Mayfair Collection in late summer and early autumn. The Hospitality Democracy restaurant group signed a lease for the building located in front of the Hilton Homewood Suites Hotel which will hold three of the group’s more popular concepts: AJ Bombers, Smoke Shack and Holey Moley Coffee + Doughnuts. According to Frederich:

“A second year-round location for Smoke Shack – the Third Ward barbecue restaurant that serves up humanely raised dry-rubbed and smoked meats, house-made sides and creative cocktails – will occupy the eastern half of the building.

The Mayfair Collection will be the third location for AJ Bombers, a fun-loving casual restaurant known for its “p-nuts” and creative takes on classic burgers, which also maintains locations Downtown, in Madison and at Miller Park.

Plans for the Wauwatosa location will include a similarly playful design as other locations, which Joe Sorge describes as “Rube Goldberg meets Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

In addition, Sorge notes that, although the fresh-made doughnuts at Holey Moley are likely to sell out daily as they do in the Third Ward, the shop is likely to remain open, offering up a variety of possibilities for potential evening opportunities at the Mayfair Collection venue.”


Three Cellars

Set to open on April 22nd, this Franklin bottle shop and wine bar will be the second location for founder Shawn Vollmerwhich will be located at N72-W13400 Lund Lane, Suite A, in the Woodlands market plaza on W. Appleton Ave and W. Good Hope Rd. in Menomonee Falls. The bar will have 24 different draft lines for beer as well as four lines for wines on tap. Deptolla reports:

“The franchisee for the location is Gino Gaglianello, a longtime Three Cellars employee.

The lounge will have bar seating and tables for four and six people. Music will be performed live inside year-round and broadcast outside to a patio.

Regular hours will be noon to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.”

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