Cafe Centraal to reopen in February as Centraal Grand Cafe & Tappery

Lowlands Group first announced renovation plans for Bay View restaurant in early December

Cafe Centraal, photo by Google

Café Centraal in Bay View will reopen in early February as Centraal Grand Café & Tappery, the Lowlands Group announced today.

Plans to close the restaurant, which just completed its 10th year in operation, for renovations were first announced in December. The restaurant was closed today to begin the renovation project.

Lowlands Groups says the new concept for the restaurant is an “evolution” of Café Centraal. It will include an “entirely new beverage experience” with more than 70 beverages on tap, including beer, wine, cocktails, craft soda, tea, coffee and other non-alcoholic offerings.

The renovation project will include an expanded kitchen, new food and beverage coolers, refinished flooring, a redesigned bar with over 70 draught lines, and a visual update throughout the space. The design is a collaboration between Lowlands Group, 360 Degrees, and Rinka Architecture.

A key component of the project involves moving the main entrance to the restaurant to the corner of Kinnickinnic and Lincoln avenues.

“It sounds trivial, but the design really unfolded from the idea that the front door for Centraal really should be on the corner of KK and Lincoln,” said Dan Herwig, director of brand and marketing at Lowlands Group. “For decades, the building was a neighborhood drugstore with one of those quintessential corner entrances. We started the project with that as a major focus, and it ended up driving many of the space decisions inside.”

The new design also divides the building into two more-defined spaces: the “Tappery” in the front of the building, with a larger focus on the extensive curations of beers and craft tap beverages, and a “Grand Café” space in the back of the restaurant that is more focused on brunch, lunch and dinner.

In addition, the design also features an event space with an art gallery vibe, featuring prints from Amsterdam artist Eddy Varekamp, as well as an extensive courtyard for outdoor dining.

Inspired by the food culture surrounding Amsterdam’s Centraal Station, the menu will continue to feature diverse, global café fare, but will introduce a “snacks” menu to accompany the beverage offerings, as well as some large-format platters meant for sharing between diners.

“Beyond the snacky items, we’ve made a big push toward more global flavors, including Middle Eastern, Asian, and Central American-inspired dishes,” said Thomas Hauck, culinary director of the Lowlands Group. “And while we’re adding lots of new dishes, we’re still keeping the DNA of Centraal intact with many of the old favorites making a return, albeit with a few tweaks here and there.”

Lowlands Group has not set a firm reopening date for Centraal yet, but is currently targeting the first week of February.

“We’re really excited to reinvest in Bay View,” said Herwig.“The neighborhood had grown so much in the past decade and our hope is that this new, ‘gussied up’ Centraal helps contribute to its next decade of growth.”

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Andrew Weiland
Andrew Weiland is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, Weiland is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, and son, Zachary. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys coaching his son’s youth baseball and basketball teams.