Another day, another East Side closing: Hotch, located at 813 E. Kenilworth Pl., is closing after an impressive 11-year run. Owner Angie Storm tells Milwaukee Record that the building’s landlord gave her notice to vacate last week. According to Storm, the landlord intends to go in a “different direction” with the building, which also houses Erik’s Bike Shop and the shuttered School Yard Bar & Grill. Hotch’s last day of business is expected to be June 25.
“This neighborhood is changing,” Storm says. “We were embracing the change. I was trying to get back to my original concept, which was a family-friendly place, everyone’s welcome. We brought back our board games, we brought in some video games and pinball, we concentrated on our food and service. We just started LGBT night on Thursdays. I love this neighborhood. I love Milwaukee and I love the people that live here. I was on board with sticking through the changes and seeing what happened. Unfortunately, my landlord’s not necessarily on the same page.”
Hotch opened in 2006 as Hotch-A-Do, focusing on casual dining, breakfast, and brunch. In 2012, it became The Hotch Spot, adding a bar and catering to a more late-night crowd. Recent years have found the rechristened Hotch getting back to basics. “Our plan is to keep with the changes we’ve made and have a really good final six or seven weeks,” Storm says.
Hotch joins an ever-growing list of recent East Side closures. BBC, The Hotel Foster, Rosati’s, Yield, Rascals, The Winchester, and others have all closed in the past year. On the other hand, new life is on the way: Andy Noble’s Strange Town is coming to the former Allium, gastropub Izzy Hops Swig and Nosh is taking over Rascals, ramen joint Yokohama is setting up shop at Yield, and Kawa Ramen and Sushi is headed to the former Winchester. So, the East Side isn’t dying. It’s just turning into a sentient bowl of ramen.
So long, Hotch. And thanks.