Michael Holloway
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Mr. B’s Bartolotta Steakhouse Reopens

Jackson's Blue Ribbon Pub closing. Brew City Biscuits extends popular pop-up.

By - Sep 7th, 2020 10:42 am
Mr. B's A Bartolotta Steakhouse Brookfield. Photo by Mike Miller Images/The Bartolotta Restaurants.

Mr. B’s A Bartolotta Steakhouse Brookfield. Photo by Mike Miller Images/The Bartolotta Restaurants.

The Bartolotta Restaurants continues to reopen its businesses scattered throughout the metro area and Mr. B’s — A Bartolotta Steakhouse in Brookfield is the latest to welcome back its guests. According to a press release, Mr. B’s is returning with its signature menu of steaks and huge list of red wines, but will feature a newly decorated patio and an indoor dining room that has been altered to respect social distancing. The patio will now feature “an external fireplace, new linens, and beautiful greenery,” the release noted.

Mr. B’s marks the third Bartolotta restaurant to reopen, joining Ristorante Bartolotta in Wauwatosa and the downtown restaurant with lake views, Harbor House. Mr. B’s is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Reservations can be made on the restaurant’s website.

Total Wine Opens in Bayshore

Total Wine & More, the nation’s largest independent retailer of fine wines, has opened a 25,000-square-foot space on the northwest side of the Bayshore mall (5850 N. Bayshore Dr.). The wine retailer officially opened on September 3. OnMilwaukee’s Molly Snyder reports:

For easy accessibility, a new parking lot is available adjacent to the storefront…

Along with the opening of Total Wine & More, The Bayshore Art Project is nearly complete with murals from artists Emma Daisy and Dave Watkins and another from David Mark Zimmerman.

Total Wine is open everyday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Drunken Cobra Bar Opens in Tosa

Anthony Lampasona, an investor in the former Red Dot Wauwatosa location (6715 W. North Ave.) has plans to open a bar just down the street  at 6818 W. North Ave., the building that formerly housed Fish Cheeks. OnMilwaukee’s Lori Fredrich reports:

Lampasona says that Drunken Cobra will feature a full service bar with a large selection of beer, including eight brews on tap, along with an expansive selection of spirits to accommodate a wide variety of drinkers.

Meanwhile, guests can expect a menu of thoughtfully made bar fare including burgers and housemade panini made with Rocket Baby bread, well executed salads, wings and a variety of items that will accommodate vegan and vegetarian customers.

Guests can also look forward to specialties like housemade poutine (a nod to the former Red Dot), locally sourced cheese curds and a few fun surprises.

“I’m from New York,” says Lampasona, “So I definitely want to put knishes on the menu. And we’re definitely going to serve New York style bagel sandwiches on the weekends….

Drunken Cobra is expected to open for bar service around October 1, with food service to follow about a month later.

Brew City Biscuits Pop-up Extends Through September

Trio. Photo courtesy of Hospitality Democracy.

Trio. Photo courtesy of Hospitality Democracy.

Brew City Biscuits, a brunch pop-up that specializes in breakfast sandwiches, has announced via a press release that it is extending its stay at Smoke Shack (332 N. Milwaukee St.) through the remainder of September. The pop-up has been taking over the restaurant on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. while still offering some signature Smoke Shack menu items.

“We are absolutely blown away by the response to our Brew City Biscuits pop-up brunch at Smoke Shack and four weekends just isn’t enough,” stated Maddie Seymour in a press release. “We’ve had a line out the door every weekend before opening and the feedback on the biscuit sandwiches has been really positive.”

Brew City Biscuits is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will also be open on Labor Day with those same hours. To-go orders can be placed day-of at 414-431-1119 and a full menu can be found at www.smoke-shack.com.

Now Closing: Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub

Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub has announced via Facebook that it is closing its downtown location (1203 N. 10th St.). The restaurant, set in the former Pabst Brewery, served casual American entrees paired with a respectable beer menu. Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub’s other location in Tosa (11302 W. Bluemound Rd.) will remain open. Journal Sentinel’s Chris Foran reports:

In an interview Friday, (Owner Mark Zierath) said the reason was simple: “No traffic.”

“As much business as we did, we became overly dependent on both in-house and outside events,” Zierath said. “With no events downtown … I can’t imagine I’ll be the last one” to close.

The downtown Jackson’s, just blocks from Fiserv Forum, was on pace for a record year, with the Milwaukee Bucks heading for the playoffs and loyal Marquette crowds filling the place to capacity every game day.

And then the coronavirus pandemic hit. When everything closed in mid-March as part of the effort to limit large gatherings spreading the virus, Zierath said he wasn’t planning to reopen the downtown pub at all.

But when there were changes to the Paycheck Protection Program loan program, he decided “to give it a try,” reopening in late June. Even with the restaurant’s patio busy on weekends, business was under 30% of projections in July and August, thanks to the evaporation of events downtown…

That reality led to the decision to close.

Now Closing: Little Duck Kitchen

The owners of Odd Duck have decided to close their event space called Little Duck Kitchen (2301 S. Howell Ave.), an announcement that was made public via Instagram on September 1. The post features a picture of the restaurant’s exterior with a sign that reads “restaurant for rent.” Urban Milwaukee’s Graham Kilmer reports:

Odd Duck owners Melissa Buchholz and Ross Bachhuber said before the pandemic hit they had plans to move Little Duck to a new, bigger space. So closing shop at their Howell Avenue location was “always in the plans.” Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the owners said they’ve “tabled those dreams for now.” The dreams are tabled, but not trashed, as they said they may “resurface elsewhere after all this has calmed down.”

Odd Duck, though, remains open at 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The restaurant’s dining room is closed but the restaurant is doing carryout and also has a new parklet so patrons can sit outside and social distance.

It’s not the first time the Odd Duck owners have closed a restaurant in the Little Duck space. They previously operated Hello Falafel in the space from 2016 to 2018. Prior to the Odd Duck owners stepping in, the building space housed a string of restaurants including Lombardi’s, Strada Pizza, Mr. WEBO’s Restaurant and Guanajuato Restaurant.

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