Two new bar-restaurants planned for Ugly’s building near Deer District

Being developed by local bar entrepreneur Michael Vitucci

Ugly's at 1125 N. Old World 3rd St. in downtown Milwaukee

A three-story, 9,000-square-foot building currently home to Ugly’s on North Old World Third Street in downtown Milwaukee will soon be transformed into two bar-restaurant concepts, adding to the growing array of new establishments in and around the Deer District.

Uncle Buck’s will take over the building’s first floor with a “rustic Northwoods meets hip East Coast” theme, complete with prize buck trophies from hunters throughout Wisconsin. And the second floor and third-floor rooftop space will be known as Red Star, a lounge, dance club and patio that will feature a view of the adjacent Milwaukee Bucks-owned Beer Garden and its 30-foot screen.

Since opening last fall, that area has become a popular destination to watch all types of sporting events from Bucks playoff games to the Women’s World Cup finals

The dual concept is the brainchild of longtime bar and restaurant operator Michael Vitucci and local entrepreneur Nathan Harris. Vitucci is the majority owner of Ugly’s and also owns Belmont Tavern, Murphy’s, Caffrey’s, ad Izzy Hops Swig & Nosh, all located throughout downtown Milwaukee. Harris is the founder of Ease Inc., a Milwaukee-based software startup. The pair announced their plans on Tuesday with a news release.

Vitucci said Ugly’s will close on July 13.

Both new concepts will serve upscale pub-style fare. Uncle Buck’s will offer a more extensive menu of locally sourced items including a variety of burgers, fried and grilled chicken, salads and seasonal soups. Its bar will have a rotating selection of 25 unique craft beers.

Red Star’s menu will focus on cocktails and shareable appetizers such as tahini and serrano pepper dip with pita bread and mixed vegetables, shrimp and grits, roasted carrots with honey Greek yogurt.

“We hope to target guests who choose to receive a higher level of pub fair for their dining experience”, said chef Ben Crevensten, who will head the food programs.

Harris touted the experience at Red Star as one that differs from any existing Old World Third Street concept. It will have what’s described as the city’s largest fire bar, which is a gas-fired bar top that seats 25 people.

Construction on the 1125 N. Old World 3rd St. building is scheduled to begin in mid-July for a Sept. 1 target opening. After it undergoes an extensive eight-week renovation, the space will have more seating and all new furniture, decor and lighting, Vitucci said.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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