Lowlands Group will transform Cafe Bavaria in Wauwatosa into Northwoods-themed restaurant The Buckatabon

New concept to open early next year

Cafe Hollander-Cafe Bavaria
An aerial view of Cafe Hollander, Tosa Beer Garden and Cafe Bavaria in the Tosa Village. Photo courtesy of Lowlands Group

Last updated on August 8th, 2019 at 02:25 pm

Cafe Bavaria in the Wauwatosa Village area will soon trade wiener schnitzel and Germanic decor for classic fish fry and nods to Wisconsin’s lake culture.

Milwaukee-based Lowlands Group on Wednesday announced plans to convert the German-style eatery into a new Northwoods-themed concept, dubbed The Buckatabon, set to open in early 2020. 

Lowlands describes the new concept as “part ‘Up North’ tavern, part lakeside lodge, and part classic supper club.” Unlike the group’s cohort of European-inspired restaurants, The Buckatabon will honor Wisconsin, according to a news release.

“We find inspiration whenever we travel, whether that’s to Europe or a long weekend Up North,” Dan Herwig, director of brand and marketing said in a statement. “While we’ve been in the ‘import’ business for quite a while, the fact of the matter is that Wisconsin is every bit as unique as any place we’ve ever been. We figured it was time to get into the ‘export’ business a bit, so to speak.”

Cafe Bavaria will remain open to the public until November and for private dining, events, and holiday parties through December. The space will reopen its doors as The Buckatabon early next year, according to the release. 

The Buckatabon will serve lunch and dinner on weekdays, and brunch and dinner on weekends. Its menu will include traditional staples from across the state while incorporating homegrown products, said culinary director Thomas Hauck, who draws inspiration from recent visits to some of the Northwoods’ most iconic taverns, lodges and supper clubs.

“It could be specific dishes like booyah stew from the northeast, broasted chicken dinners, or a classic fish fry, but we’re also interested in using ingredients unique to the state like wild rice, cranberries, cherries, and of course all of the amazing dairy we’re surrounded by,” Hauck said. “There is no shortage of inspiration.”

While Lowlands’ concepts serve both local and imported beer and beverages, The Buckatabon will source its bar selection exclusively from local and Wisconsin-based brewers, distillers and bitters-makers. The cocktail program will put put a new, local twist on classics such as an old fashioned and ice cream-based drinks. 

Lowlands said it plans to partner with several Northwoods supper clubs, taverns, and lodges in an effort to expose local diners to lesser-known spots. Those plans include cross-promotion and sharing recipes. 

The announcement comes after the late-June launch of Lowlands Group’s new Tosa Village Beer Garden, which is located on Cafe Bavaria’s patio along the Menomonee River. The company said the beer garden was created with The Buckatabon in mind.

The outdoor area, which is also adjacent to Lowlands’ Cafe Hollander, already nods to Wisconsin sports pride with its red and white Badger theme. The beer garden concept, itself, also pays homage to the region’s Germanic roots.  

“We’ve really wanted to do this concept for a while,” said Herwig. “But we wanted to do it right, and in the right location. The stars have finally aligned and it’s perfect timing, as we’re spending this summer eating our way through everything above the 45th parallel as we finalize the menus.”

Lowlands Group over the past two years has renovated or rebranded a number of its restaurants in historic buildings, including Centraal Grand Café & Tappery (formerly Cafe Centraal) in Bay View, Cafe Benelux in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward and both Cafe Hollander locations on Downer Avenue and Wauwatosa.

Tosa Beer Garden-Cafe Bavaria
Tosa Beer Garden is located on Cafe Bavaria’s patio.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.