Russ Darrow buys former Famous Dave’s next to its Waukesha Kia dealership

Restaurant closed three years ago

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Russ Darrow Group has purchased a vacant building next door to Russ Darrow Kia of Waukesha dealship, but says no expansion plans are in the works.

The property on 2137 E. Moreland Blvd. was recently sold for $1.2 million, according to state records. It is the site of the former Famous Dave’s, which closed at the end of 2015 and has since set vacant. Before that, it operated as a Ponderosa.

The property was last assessed at $928,500, according to Waukesha County property records.

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Mike Darrow, president of Russ Darrow Group, said the purchase was more about timing than anything. At least for now, it will be used for additional display and storage space for the neighboring Kia dealership.

“We have no plans today at all for any type of expansion,” he said.

The dealership bought the property from Marohl Construction Inc. Jeff Marohl, president and co-owner of Marohl Construction, said his company was having trouble leasing the property after Famous Dave’s left three years ago.

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“So, we decided to sell it to the neighbors,” he said.

Maroh’s father Henry Marohl, founder of Marohl Construction, built the restaurant around 1970 then leased it to Ponderosa Inc. Henry Marohl built a number of restaurants, including roughly 15 for Ponderosa, and kept ownership of some of them, said Jeff Marohl.

Ponderosa stopped leasing the restaurant in the early 2000s to focus on some of its other locations, he added.

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Even though Russ Darrow Group has no expansion plans at its Kia dealership location with the purchase of this property, it has been busy with other expansion plans in recent years.

About a year ago it opened a new Nissan dealership in West Bend. It also plans to move its Honda dealership at West Brown Deer Road as well as its Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership at North 76th Street to new facilities at the Metro Auto Mall, located near the corner of Insterstate 41 and Good Hope Road.

The construction of those new location will finish up sometime in late spring or early summer of next year, said Darrow.

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