New diner-style concept planned for Brewer’s Hill neighborhood

Husband and wife team open restaurant in historic 116-year-old building

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234 E. Vine St., photo by Google

A new restaurant planned for a 116-year-old building in Milwaukee’s Brewer’s Hill neighborhood could be serving up breakfast and lunch by late summer.

Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern, a new diner-style concept, will occupy the first floor of a historic building located at 234 E. Vine St. Husband and wife duo Wolfgang and Whitney Schaefer purchased the building in 2015 to pursue their dream of opening a dual-concept business.

Whitney’s home goods store Orange & Blue Co. opened almost one year ago in the north side of the building. She first launched the business online in 2015.

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Uncle Wolfie’s, which is Wolfgang’s longtime vision, will open in the empty portion of the building, which is now in the early stages of a summer-long renovation project. The restaurant will specialize in “eggs, coffee and beer,” Schaefer said, and its executive chef is Joe Singer.

Open daily for lunch and dinner, it will serve both standard diner food and “whimsical” original dishes, along with a selection of craft beer and cocktails. Schaefer said he also hopes to open the restaurant  from 4-7 p.m. on weekends to serve small plates and drinks.

“If you’re at Uncle Wolfie’s, waiting to be seated, you can grab a cocktail or beer and head next door to the shop,” Schaefer said. “Or if you’re shopping next door and smell bacon, you can come over to Uncle Wolfie’s.”

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Built in 1902, the two-story brick building, historically known as the Miller Brewery Bar or Party House Inn, once housed a Miller Brewing Company tied house. It had sat vacant for about 40 years before the Schaefers purchased it.

“It was the perfect shell for what we wanted to do,” Schaefer said. “It was too great of an opportunity not to purchase it.”

The structure required an extensive buildout and reinstallation of walls, ceilings, floors, electric and plumbing, which is why, Schaefer said, it has taken a couple years to get his concept off the ground.

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As its opening approaches, the eatery recently hosted its first pop up event at Amilinda in downtown Milwaukee to showcase a selection of brunch items that will be on its menu. Schaefer said it will host more pop ups throughout the summer, including one on June 16 at Orange & Blue Co., as the store celebrates its one year anniversary.

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