Milwaukee area eyed for Bob Chinn’s franchise

HarborView Development LLC plans to open a Bob Chinn’s franchise in the Milwaukee area.

HarborView Development LLC, which had been working for more than two years to open the first Bob Chinn’s Crabhouse franchise in Kenosha, has scrapped those plans and now plans to open a Bob Chinn’s franchise in the Milwaukee area.

Located in the Chicago suburb of Wheeling, Ill., Bob Chinn’s Crabhouse is one of the largest independently owned restaurants in the country.

The fallout from the economic crisis and credit crunch killed the deal in Kenosha, said HarborView spokesman Frank D’Angelo.

"Kenosha is a great location and has ideal demographics, but with the economic downtown, we need to relocate to a more high-profile location," he said. "We have seen the downtown of the lending industry firsthand and literally have had financing pulled days before we were to close. We believe in the Kenosha market, or we wouldn’t have stuck it out so long. Unfortunately, it’s just not economically viable for us to continue at this location."

HarborView is now looking for a location in the metro Milwaukee area.

"We’re basically starting from scratch again," D’Angelo said. "We’re looking at several sites in the Milwaukee area. We are looking primarily in the suburbs, but we are keeping all of our options open at this time."

Bob Chinn’s is a seafood restaurant serving seafood delivered from around the world each day, but also serves steaks.

"We are a destination restaurant," D’Angelo said. "It’s a casual dining experience. It’s a place you can go in wearing a suit or a pair of flip-flops after washing the car."

HarborView wants to move the project forward as soon as possible, so it would prefer to find an existing building for the restaurant, D’Angelo said. The restaurant needs 10,000 to 12,000 square feet of space, ideally in a high-traffic location. To reach HarborView Development, building owners can contact Ralph McCarthy at (262) 515-3524.

Originally, HarborView planned to open the restaurant in the former Sears building at 5500 Sixth Ave. in downtown Kenosha. The group still plans to redevelop the two-story, 21,000-square-foot building with a mixture of commercial uses, D’Angelo said.

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