Sophie Bolich

New Owners Take Over Menomonee Valley Wedding Venue

Two longtime bartenders are now operating the wedding and events venue.

By - Feb 23rd, 2024 06:20 pm
Site of River Valley Historic Venue, 422 N. 15th St. Photo taken Feb. 21, 2024 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of River Valley Historic Venue, 422 N. 15th St. Photo taken Feb. 21, 2024 by Sophie Bolich.

After more than eight years at the helm of Over the Moon Bartending, John Crone and Joe D’Acquisto are bellying up to a new venture.

The duo, co-founders of the mobile bartending company, recently acquired River Valley Historic Venue, 422 N. 15th St. As the new owners, Crone and D’Acquisto aim to apply their previous expertise to boost the venue’s potential while bringing bartending services in-house, they said.

“We’re very, very proud of the work that we’ve put into [Over the Moon] and the reputation we’ve earned,” Crone said. “We’re really looking forward to pursuing that same level of service and same level of guest satisfaction on a larger scale.”

It’s not their first encounter with the building. Nearly six years ago, during the early days of Over the Moon, Crone and D’Acquisto were hired for a wedding at the venue. The would-be typical evening sparked a relationship with Christopher Kidd — the building owner and father of the bride.

“We just fell in love with the building itself,” said D’Acquisto, noting that he and Crone returned often with Over the Moon for weddings and other events.

Since then, the company has grown from two employees to more than 25, has received numerous awards and accrued a portfolio of reputable clients. And though the road was twisting, it ultimately led Crone and D’Acquisto back to River Valley Historic Venue — this time as its owners.

The pair have now assumed all operations at the venue and are hoping to hit the ground running, with plans to increase efficiency, draw in bookings and prepare for upcoming events. Notably, the Republican National Convention, which kicks off in Milwaukee on July 15.

“One of our immediate goals is to be able to cater to the RNC,” Crone said. “Hopefully we’re looking at that as the first busy week.”

The building, with its high-ceilings, open floor plan and private bridal suite, is marketed as an ideal site for weddings, but also comes equipped for a variety of other gatherings including corporate events and bridal or baby showers.

The venue features 7,000 square feet of rentable space split between two floors and is outfitted with original vintage wood floors, exposed beams and Cream City brick.

The spacious first floor is set up for wedding ceremonies and can accommodate up to 150 guests seated and 200 standing. A third-floor space features AV equipment, podiums and other business-centric supplies, but doubles as a comfortable area for cocktail hour, Crone said. The bridal suite is located in the basement, along with a prep kitchen for caterers.

Crone and D’Acquisto, who met while bartending at Mason Street Grill, said they plan to approach the new venture with the same, client-focused philosophy that led to Over the Moon’s success.

“We’re going to treat this with a lot of care,” D’Acquisto said.

The venue is now accepting bookings for dates as soon as March 1. All previous bookings will be honored under the new ownership. Events will feature Over the Moon Bartending and clients will be provided with a list of preferred vendors.

Booking inquiries can be submitted via email at or by phone. Additional contact information for the venue is available online. The business can also be found on Facebook and Instagram as @RiverValleyHistoricVenue.

Building History

Originally constructed as a casket factory in 1901, the 15,000-square-foot building sat empty for years until 2017, when it was purchased and renovated by Christopher Kidd and Associates.

The exterior Cream City brick and original wood floors were fully restored during the renovation, which also saw the structure receive new windows, doors, electrical and plumbing. The building’s exterior lighting adds extra flair. The customizable lights are the same as those on the Empire State Building.

The building received a Mayor’s Design Award in 2020.


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Categories: Food & Drink

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