Last updated on October 16th, 2020 at 12:26 pm
Milwaukee-based Cobalt Partners LLC and the Timber family on Wednesday evening officially opened The Gage, a new venue in West Allis that’s part of the Allis Yards mixed-use development.
The Gage is a 300-person event venue in the former Allis Chalmers tractor showroom at 1139 S. 70th St. Cobalt has tapped the Timber family, who own the Double B’s BBQ restaurant and Timber’s Catering, to operate the venue.
It is just one component of the roughly $130 million Allis Yards project, which also includes a hotel, office buildings, new retail space and multi-family housing along South 70th Street, south of West Washington Street. Cobalt is leading the mixed-use development.
The event venue is opening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has cut deeply into the restaurant and hospitality business.
But the outbreak hasn’t crippled The Gage’s business prospects. In fact, the venue has already booked 53 weddings, with the first one coming up in a week or two, said Scott Yauck, president and chief executive of Cobalt.
“I think we benefited from it in a sense, because we didn’t go into this blindly,” said Nina Timber, one of the family members involved in Timber’s Catering, said of the timing of the opening. The October opening comes several months after the pandemic’s spread to Wisconsin and the initial statewide shutdown orders issues by Gov. Tony Evers.
“We were able to see everything going on around us, and make the changes that necessarily needed to be made,” she said.
Those adjustments included figuring out appropriate amounts of space for attendees, Timber said.
It helped that the family already had to make adjustments through its existing catering business, said Ashley Timber, who also works in the family business.
“From a catering background, we got used to what the new precautions were, so we were easily able to implement them here (at The Gage), so that everyone could feel comfortable coming,” she said.
Timber’s Catering has seen some lost business due to the pandemic, but much of the work has shifted to outdoor weddings and events, Nina Timber said. The BBQ restaurant, meanwhile, has found success in offering take-out and delivery service, she said.