The COVID-19 crisis has put everyday life on hold, yet plans for life after the virus continue apace. The latest in Milwaukee food/drink plans: a German-themed sausage restaurant called WürstBar MKE, coming (hopefully) soon to the Green Fields space on the corner of Arlington and Brady, 1239 E. Brady St.
The venture is the brainchild of owners Scott Schaefer, Andrew Fronek, and Darryl Towers. The three business partners also own the Milwaukee Brat House—both the downtown and Shorewood locations—and Jack’s American Pub, also located on Brady Street.
In documents filed with the city, Schaefer is listed as the owner of the future WürstBar building. The location currently houses the apparently closed Green Fields.
In a press release, Schaefer, Fronek, and Towers lay out a detailed plan for WürstBar MKE:
WürstBar MKE will blend traditional and contemporary culinary perspectives on German food, focusing on sausages. The majority of menu offerings will be locally sourced from Usinger’s Sausage Company, which has been making sausages in Milwaukee for over 130 years. The more contemporary aspects of the menu are inspired by Berlin-style street food, such as döner kebabs and currywurst. WurstBar MKE will serve food for the lunch, dinner, and late-night customers of Brady Street.
The primary focus of the space will be to provide a welcoming environment with design notes melding rustic and modern. Traditional German Brew haus styling and the industrial design elements of modern day Berlin will combine to modernize the impression of a German bar and restaurant. We will bring modern-day Berlin-style food and drink, while honoring the traditions of Milwaukee’s German settlers.
With our focus on German beer offerings, creating a biergarten atmosphere will be the aesthetic for our outdoor seating options. We will continue down that conceptual road with the implementation of a stein club and offer the option of having tap beer served in glass boots. Additionally, we will have the nail game, hammerschlagen, a staple of German bars.
The beverage program at WürstBar will consist of tap and bottled beer, wine, and hand-crafter cocktails. Unique packaged beer that represents the traditional-yet-modern motif will be sourced from local distributors. For tap beer, having a diverse draught list that rotates seasonally will be the main focus. The cocktail program and wine list will be curated to be refined yet simple, as will the beer selection, both created to compliment the food menu.
There’ll be plenty of remodeling involved with the project. Documents say the owners will “transform the space into a modern German venue—open some windows to outside, German bench style seating, German design motifs.” The documents continue:
The basement and ground level of 1239 E. Brady St. is currently occupied by Greenfields Trading Company, a headshop that specializes in incense, clothing, and other items. The second floor is an open concept Airbnb with a floor plan that mirrors that of the first floor. The basement renovation will consist of transforming the space to be usable for the kitchen, additional customer and employee bathrooms, cooler space, storage, and an office. The first and second floors would be renovated into bar assembly space. A consistent motif of the renovation design will be to rustic, yet contemporary, designed to age well with the timeless German concept we will implement.
“With foot traffic being such a prevalent part of establishments on Brady Street,” the documents continue, “the outdoor seating spaces will be dog friendly, as a way to cater to as many customers as possible.”
When will it open? The press release explains:
With the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, there is no set opening date at this time. We will hammer down a more defined timeline as public health guidelines come into focus. As more details unfold for the best timing and strategy to allow the economy to get back on its feet safely, we will adjust our timeline in accordance. We are eager to be open but we will be conscious of the health of our employees, the trades workers, and the general public of Milwaukee, making safety our first and foremost goal. Milwaukee is a city fueled by hard-working people, strong communities, and progressive industry. Milwaukee has supported our ventures with open arms, and we look forward to continuing to provide another great dining option for our friends and neighbors.