Bobby Wiltgen, owner of Who’s on Third in downtown Milwaukee, on Friday will officially open Oak Barrel Public House, a new tavern and restaurant located just down the street.
It occupies the former Giovanni’s restaurant space, located at 1033 N. Old World Third St., which Wiltgen bought in November. He worked with Milwaukee-based Flux Design to renovate the building’s first level– with a capacity for 100 people– and second level– with a capacity for 150 to 200 people– for the new restaurant.
Wiltgen said Oak Barrel got its name from a time during the 1800’s when the building housed the Midwest’s largest hardware store, where beer was stored in oak barrels.
Oak Barrel’s American comfort food menu includes burgers, pizza, tacos and entrees such as Beer Cheese Mac and Cheese and fish fry. It will serve a selection of craft cocktails, local craft beer, craft whiskey, and wine, offering daily drink deals and a happy hour on Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., according to its website.
“We found that the top trending foods in the U.S. right now are burgers, pizza and tacos but we realized that not one place focuses on those three things,” Wiltgen’s said. “We are trying to incorporate flavors from across the country.”
The restaurant opened last week for contractors and family and friends and has since been hosting private events and soft openings before its grand opening that starts Feb. 9 at 5 p.m.
This will be Wiltgen’s third business on Old World Third St. In October, he bought Matador Taco & Tequila in the former Lucille’s Piano Bar space at 1110 N. Old World Third St., re-branded the restaurant and bar, and re-opened it as Cantina.
“There’s a really nice balance between local people and tourism on Old World Third Street,” he said. “Its nice to be able to capitalize on all the hotels and the new arena opening soon. Everyday there’s an event going on down here and we want to be apart of that.”