Graham Kilmer

Restaurant to Replace Troubled VIP Lounge

Restaurant Jerez plans to move into space at 828 S. 1st St., replacing shuttered bar.

By - Nov 30th, 2021 01:21 pm
VIP Lounge, 828 S. 1st St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

VIP Lounge, 828 S. 1st St. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A new restaurant is being proposed to replace a troubled, and now closed, nightclub at 828 S. 1st St. in Walker’s Point.

The new eatery, should its licensing be approved by the City of Milwaukee, will be called Restaurant Jerez. Its owner is Platon Peña Delgado, an electrician and owner of Peña Electric. Peña Delgado also has a minority partner in the new business, Martha Acosta Ramirez. The planned hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to 9.m. daily, except on Fridays and Saturdays when it would be open until 10:30 p.m., according to a business license application filed with the City of Milwaukee.

The application also stated that one or both of the restaurant’s owners previously owned a restaurant.

The restaurant would replace VIP Lounge, a nightclub that flouted the city’s COVID-19 requirements and was the site of several shootings. The council scheduled a revocation hearing, but the owner surrender the license.

Urban Milwaukee did not receive a response to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Restaurant Jerez is planned to open in a building owned by Jose Zarate, who told Molly Snyder in 2014 that he got into the restaurant business after buying a building with space for a restaurant on the first floor. He recently sold that property, 625 S. 6th St. ,to an affiliate of the development firm Mandel Group, which demolished it and several other buildings and is building a 144-unit apartment building in their place. The now demolished building used to house Zarate’s restaurant, La Fuente, which still has another location at 9155 W. Bluemound Rd.

The building on S. 1st Street, where Restaurant Jerez will open, is located in a bustling, and growing commercial district in Walker’s Point. It is near the intersection of S. 1st Street and E. National Avenue and a number of popular bars and restaurants including D.I.X., La Merenda, Fat Daddy’s and Steny’s Tavern & Grill. It’s also near a proposed extension of the city of Milwaukee’s Streetcar — The Hop — currently being studied.

The new restaurant would reactivate the location for a club the city effectively closed down. In June, the council threatened license revocation for VIP Lounge, citing a “disregard for public safety.” In the preceding month, the bar more than once had shootings involving its patrons. And in Sept. 2020, when the city previously renewed the establishment’s license, the Common Council heard a lengthy discussion of multiple shootings that had occurred outside the club.

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