Sophie Bolich

Red Sun Cafe Plans ‘Downtown Vibe’ on South Side

New bar, restaurant and hookah lounge slated to open on S. 27th St. in August.

By - May 8th, 2023 05:48 pm
Red Sun Cafe logo. Photo Courtesy of Touly Vang.

Red Sun Cafe logo. Photo Courtesy of Touly Vang.

A new bar, restaurant and hookah lounge aims to extend the atmosphere of downtown Milwaukee to the city’s South Side.

First-time business owner Touly Vang plans to open Red Sun Cafe at 4350 S. 27th St., bringing a full bar, comfort food, live entertainment and nicotine and tobacco-free hookah to the Wilson Park neighborhood.

“Our mission is just to bring the vibes of downtown and the Third Ward closer to our neighborhood,” Vang said.

Vang, who previously worked in technology at Northwestern Mutual, called the new venture “a big 180” for him.

“I just wanted to take a leap,” he said. “You don’t often have opportunities like that in life, and this was one where I saw that maybe I could start a passion project and do something fun and impactful for the community.”

The title for Red Sun Cafe was partly influenced by Eastern Asian culture, said Vang, adding that the name is mostly meant to represent “a new dawn and a new opportunity to be great.”

“Since this is my first business venture, I found it to be a very appropriate name and it also echoes our mission of delivering an exceptional dining experience to all of our guests,” he said.

Vang plans to redesign the 4,294-square-foot building, formerly the site of Tier 1 Gaming Lounge, with a modern industrial theme — a popular choice for newer downtown establishments such as Good City Brewing at Deer District.

In addition to a handful of bottled and canned beers — no drafts — and a full bar, Red Sun would serve a daytime menu of freshly-made crepes with both sweet and savory fillings. Later in the evening, the menu would switch to a more casual selection of pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs, cheese curds, french fries and chicken tenders.

“We wanted to make something that is fresh and also fun.” Vang said. “I just based the menu on things that I enjoy and things that I’d love to share with everyone.”

Besides food and beverage, Vang plans to offer nicotine and tobacco-free hookah, as well as frequent live entertainment with an emphasis on local singers, musicians, comedians, and other performers.

For many entrepreneurs, the work that goes into a business prior to opening — such as licensing, occupancy and inspections — can feel tedious and overwhelming. But Vang said he’s found the process to be both fun and educational.

“This is my first venture, so I’m going to do everything right,” he said. “And I want to make sure that we are not just compliant, but doing everything at the highest quality as well.”

Red Sun Cafe is expected to open in August. In the meantime, Vang is working to complete extensive interior renovations, including a kitchen build-out.

Red Sun Cafe is expected to be open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

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