Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:38 pm
Plans for a new restaurant are in the works at the former Moto-Scoot building on North Water Street in Milwaukee’s Lower East Side neighborhood near downtown.
The fast-casual eatery, called Riley’s Good Dogs, would open in spring 2020 at 1652 N. Water St., serving traditional and vegan hot dogs and sausages.
The property and its 1,120-square-foot, 92-year-old building is owned by Bill Weslow, who opened Moto-Scoot in 2006. He sold the business in 2017, and the motorcycle shop then relocated to its current location at 1240 E. Belleview Place.
By the time he sold the business, Weslow had already been in talks with longtime friend Hank Stiehl about opening a restaurant at the site.
“It’s a very high-traffic spot, and it’s got excellent visibility on one of the busiest roads in Milwaukee,” said Steihl, who has taken on the role of general manager.
The partners both come from restaurant industry backgrounds. Weslow’s family operated the former Halfway House restaurant in Elm Grove, and Stiehl previously worked as a supervisor at Ian’s Pizza and held a corporate position with Wendy’s.
A burger, taco and ice cream shop was proposed by different operators in 2017, but those plans never came together, Weslow said.
Riley’s Good Dogs will have limited indoor seating, but offer take-out and delivery service. It will also have an outdoor patio and gathering area with additional seating and and a take-out window.
“We want to make it as much of a dog and pet friendly environment as we can,” said Stiehl, who is general manager.
With alternatives for vegan, low-fat and gluten-free diets, the eatery will appeal to wide range of diners in the neighborhood.
“We want to make sure it provides unique and classic flavors with some new flavors added to the whole hot dog idea, while also making sure we have something that’s amenable to all diets,” Stiehl said.
In addition to hot dogs and sausages, Riley’s menu will include mac n cheese, french fries loaded with toppings and Wisconsin-made ice cream. It will eventually offer local craft beer, but initially won’t serve alcohol, Stiehl said.
Before it opens the building will undergo renovations, which will include a full-service kitchen, dining area and new bathrooms.
The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals will review the application for the project on Nov. 7.
The North Water Street building is located in a recent hotbed of commercial and residential development. The restaurant would join a booming corridor that includes a 30,000-square-foot Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and several apartment developments, including the Rhythm directly to its south.
Milwaukee real estate company Ogden Multifamily Partners LLC is planning a multi-family housing development on a site directly to the north.