Graham Kilmer

Southern-Style Seafood For Downtown

Lowcountry restaurant, named for South Carolina, offers seafood boils: lobster, crab and shrimp.

By - Sep 28th, 2020 05:09 pm
Lowcountry, 1114 N. Water St. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.

Lowcountry, 1114 N. Water St. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.

A burgeoning Chicago restaurant chain is opening a location in Milwaukee’s downtown.

Lowcountry does seasonal, southern-style seafood boils. This involves boiling seafood — like crab and shrimp and lobster — with vegetables and usually potatoes and corn. It’s typically spicy and eaten with your hands. If you go, they will give you a bib to wear.

Lowcountry opened the first of its two locations in Chicago in 2015. Their Milwaukee restaurant will be at 1114 N. Water St. Which was previously home to Bar Louie and Brew City Barbeque. It’s owned by Pan and Dana Hompluem. The married business owners opened their first Lowcountry in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood in 2015.

The idea for doing southern-style boils was thanks to Pan, who went to New Orleans with his family during summers as a kid, and according to the Lowcountry website, the family went “for the crawfish, crabs and shrimp.” But the restaurant’s name comes from another southern state, South Carolina, where The Lowcountry is a coastal region distinguished by its geography and culture.

In 2015, when Lowcountry opened in Chicago, the Chicago publication Eater started its story on the new restaurant by announcing that it was joining “one of the biggest restaurant trends in recent months.” Milwaukee has several southern-style seafood options, but this may be the first dedicated to the seafood boil.

The space the Hompluem’s are opening in was most recently home to the Texas-based chain Bar Louie. It closed in January, along with another location at Bayshore Mall, after the parent company filed for bankruptcy and started shuttering “underperforming locations”, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported.

Bar Louie moved in on Water Street shortly after Brew City Barbeque left the spot at the corner of N. Water Street and E. Highland Avenue and moved to E. Juneau Avenue. Brew City Barbeque was at that location for 15 years, the Business Journal reported.

Now it will take on a new life as Lowcountry. Like Bar Louie and Brew City Barbeque before it, Lowcountry won’t be just another bar. When Pan described the restaurant to Eater five years ago, he said that was the last thing Wrigleyville, a neighborhood known in part for its bars and major-league sports, needed. Ditto for Water Street, but southern seafood boils will add something very different.


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