Every Friday, Off The Record looks to other Milwaukee publications (and beyond) for bits of news we missed throughout the week.
• Two of the many wonderful things about summers in Milwaukee are Bradford Beach and the nearby Northpoint Custard stand. Operated for a number of years by SURG Restaurant Group and The Bartolotta Restaurants, respectively, the warm-weather lakefront destinations consistently draw an eclectic mix of Milwaukeeans looking to cool off, catch some rays, sip a tiki drink or two, and grab a burger and fries. But what happens when Milwaukee County suddenly requires a minimum annual rent of $60,000 for both properties, and both previous operators say, “No thanks”? We’re about to find out!
According to the Milwaukee Business Journal:
In January, Milwaukee County issued two request for proposals (RFPs) seeking operators to oversee the concessions and operations for both Bradford Beach and North Point Park for the next five years. The deadline for bids was Feb. 13, but the county did not receive any responses that met requirements of the RFPs.
For the past number of years, The Bartolotta Restaurants has run the North Point Park building as the well-known Northpoint Custard stand and SURG Restaurant Group had managed Bradford Beach’s food, beverage and recreational services, which include the beach’s volleyball league, the tiki bars and the food concessions in Bradford View Beach House. The property lease agreements between Milwaukee County and those two local companies expired this year.
SURG claims it’s bailing on Bradford Beach because of the weather-dependent nature of the location. Bartolotta, meanwhile, submitted a since-rejected bid (the only bid submitted for Northpoint) that ignored a newly required $60,000 baseline bill for annual rent (intended to “increase revenue for Milwaukee County Parks”):
“We feel it is unreasonable to hold a fixed minimum rent when so many variables outside of the operator is at play,” the restaurant group writes in its application. “Our proposal, while variable, reasonably achieves the objectives of the county while not unfairly jeopardizing the operator.”
Despite the setbacks, Milwaukee County says it is confident it will secure vendors for the spots in time for summer. [Milwaukee Business Journal]
• Miller Brewing Company has been named a “founding partner” of the new Milwaukee Bucks arena, and will sponsor three bars in the upper concourse: The Miller Brewing Co. bar, the Leinenkugel’s bar, and a Coors Light bar. [BizTimes]
• Twisted Path Distillery, 2018 S. 1st St, will host a series of free concerts in its newly opened tasting room. The series kicks off tonight at 8 p.m. with a show from The Zach Pietrini Band. [Milwaukee Magazine]
• Milwaukee Record contributor Kyle Lobner started a Patreon for a daily version of his “Frosty Mug” Milwaukee Brewers news round-up. [Patreon]
• REYNA released a new, Bananarama-channeling summer jam, “Cool With It.” It’s gooooood. [Soundcloud]
• The old Valhalla at 1111 N. Old World Third St. is set to become Truth Lounge. The owner says he wants to create a “chill atmosphere where you can come hang out, have a couple of drinks and just have a really good time.” [OnMilwaukee]
• The old Zak’s Cafe at 231 S. 2nd St. is set to become Toast, a “groovy new breakfast, brunch and lunch spot.” [OnMilwaukee]
• The old Water Buffalo at 249 N. Water St. is set to become Blue Bat Kitchen and Tequilaria—or BBK for short. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
• The old The King & I at 823 N. Plankinton Ave. is set to become Crab Spice House. [OnMilwaukee]
• “Bay View truly is one of the city’s most desired neighborhoods.” [BizTimes]
• NEWaukee’s ever-popular Night Market will return June 13, July 11, August 15, and September 12. [OnMilwaukee]
• Coquette Cafe, 316 N. Milwaukee St., has closed after 19 years. [OnMilwaukee]
• Little DeMarinis, 2860 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., will close March 3. [OnMilwaukee]
• Have a great weekend, Milwaukee!