Graham Kilmer

Harbor District’s Riverfront Restaurant Plans Fall Opening

The Bridgewater Modern Grill will be "upscale," with massive patio, seating for 245 patrons.

By - May 31st, 2022 05:49 pm
Future home of The Bridgewater Modern Grill. Photo courtesy of Benson’s Restaurant Group.

Future home of The Bridgewater Modern Grill. Photo courtesy of Benson’s Restaurant Group.

The restaurant opening in a large restaurant space in the River One development will be called The Bridgewater Modern Grill.

In January, Benson’s Restaurant Group announced it would be opening a restaurant in the 6,000-square-foot space. It elaborated on the establishment Tuesday, explaining that the restaurant will feature a massive patio space and a custom-made wood-burning Jade grill.

The most prominent feature of the restaurant will be the 241-foot outdoor patio and green space that runs along the south bank of the Kinnickinnic River.

The restaurant has seating for more than 240 patrons, including 165 inside and 80 on the patio. The interior seating also includes event space with room for up to 30 guests.

To design the restaurant, the group partnered with RINKA Architecture, which also designed the rest of the $100 million River One project, being developed by Michels Corp. with Gilbane Building Co. serving as the general contractor.

The restaurant was built into the base of the Tribute Apartments, which is the second building constructed as part of the $100 million River One project. The apartment building, 2033 S. 1st St., runs along the west side of S. 1st St. between W. Becher St. and the Kinnickinnic River. Lincoln Warehouse sits across the street.

The restaurant space was built to take full advantage of its location along the river with 10 boat slips. The extensive patio includes a “social patio with soft seating, fire tables and cocktail service, as well as a 1,300 sq. ft. lawn,” according to a statement released by the restaurant group.

This outdoor patio area will be heated for “three season use,” the company said, and it will have an “indoor/outdoor” at its center.

David Marcus, CEO of the restaurant group, said the restaurant will have “an upscale, inviting atmosphere.” The menu was described in a statement as “expressive” and the ingredients as “intentionally sourced.” It also said the restaurant will have “a robust wine program.” Finally, the custom wood-burning stove will “highlight the role of fire in food,” the restaurant group said.

The restaurant is planned to open by early fall 2022.

Benson’s Restaurant Group owns a number of restaurants including Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria, AJ Bombers, Smoke Shack and Onesto. It was bought by the Marcus family, of the Marcus Corporation, in 2011 from Angie and Joe Sorge, who left the company in 2018. The company’s original name was Hospitality Democracy, but it was changed in honor of Ben Marcus, founder of the Marcus Corporation, and his sons.

The Marcus Corporation owns and operates a number of hotels, theaters and hospitality businesses around the U.S. It was founded in Ripon and its headquarters is in Milwaukee in the 100 East office tower.

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