Catherine Jozwik

Two-Story Sushi Restaurant Planned Downtown

Sushi, hibachi restaurant planned for former Catch 22 space on N. Milwaukee St.

By - Oct 5th, 2019 04:32 pm
770-722 N. Milwaukee St. in 2015. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

770-772 N. Milwaukee St. in 2015. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Seasoned Menomonee Falls restaurateur Lichai Chen is planning to open his third sushi-hibachi restaurant at 770-772 N. Milwaukee St. in June 2020.

Chen, who did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication, recently applied for a liquor license for the 8,000-square-foot building.

In the application, Chen said that the building, last used as a bar, would be remodeled to make space for beverage and sushi bars on the first floor and hibachi tables and a prep kitchen on the second floor.

According to the application, Chen is in the process of purchasing the property. The property was sold to the owners of Maharaja, an Indian restaurant on the Lower East Side, for $922,500 in February 2016 by Brookfield-based Bellsuper LLC. 

After experiencing success with his original West Bend restaurant, Ninja Japanese Steakhouse, 944 Paradise Drive, Chen opened a second location in 2013, Ninja Hibachi Sushi Steakhouse, N88 W15575 Main St. in Menomonee Falls. Both restaurants offer an extensive hibachi menu, a variety of Japanese appetizers, sushi bar entrees such as the spicy maki and sashimi dinners and many kitchen entrees, including swordfish teriyaki, beef negamaki teriyaki, tofu and vegetable teriyaki, and seafood tempura. The restaurants also offer lunch specials.    

The restaurant is referred to as “Ninja MKE – TBD” in the license application.

Ninja MKE would be open Sundays 12 p.m. to 9 a.m., Mondays through Thursdays 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.

The building was previously occupied by art dealer Michael H. Lord, Zim’s Bar and Catch 22 Bar and Grill. The second floor has been home to multiple gyms.

The building has also been the subject of local controversy. In 2016, it was the proposed site of The Cosmopolitan, a Roaring Twenties-themed strip club, a venture which never came to fruition due to opposition from neighborhood residents and city officials. After being denied a license to operate the club, Roaring Twenties, LLC filed a lawsuit against the city. As part of a settlement, the proposed ownership group was merged with other prospective strip club ownership groups and given a single license on N. Old World Third St.

A cocktail lounge and event venue was approved for the space this spring, but never moved forward. The application was filed by Sean Pliss.

The license will next be reviewed by the Common Council’s Licenses Committee at one of its upcoming meetings.

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