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Aparium, which owns The Iron Horse, is converting these former Pabst buildings in Kansas City into a new hotel.
Aparium, which owns The Iron Horse, is converting these former Pabst buildings in Kansas City into a new hotel. (Photo: Mike Sinclair)

Iron Horse co-owner plans hotel in former Kansas City Pabst bottling plant

Aparium Hotel Group is best known locally for its co-ownership of The Iron Horse Hotel and for the new Charmant Hotel, which it will manage when it opens soon in LaCrosse. (Milwaukee's Kubala Washatko Architects is working on that project.)

But the Chicago hotelier is also working on another as-yet-unnamed hotel with a Brew City connection.

In a joint venture with Agman Partners, Aparium is opening its seventh independently branded, upscale hotel in 2017 in a former Pabst bottling and distribution plant at 2101-07 Central Ave. in Kansas City's Crossroads Arts District.

The earliest building in the complex is the four-story 1911 bottling and distribution center constructed for The Pabst Brewing Co. Later, Pabst added offices in a new, adjacent two-story building named for KC politician Tom Pendergast, who operated an eponymous distillery there in the 1920s.

According to Aparium, Pendergast was, ostensibly, a purveyor of bottled water and "near-beer" during Prohibition, but also was rumored to be running a bootleg distillery out of the building, too.

Interestingly, neither of these structures has the medieval castle-like crenellations that distinguish so many Pabst buildings in Milwaukee.

"We look forward to unveiling our plans to transform these incredible buildings into a destination that thoughtfully embraces the history and the character of the community," said Mario Tricoci, Aparium CEO and managing partner in a statement.

"This project is unfolding at a pivotal moment in the renaissance of urban Kansas City, specifically the Crossroads Arts District," said David Dowell, AIA, principal of El Dorado Inc., which is designing the renovation.

"It’s going to be a great gathering place for locals and visitors in one of the neighborhood’s irreplaceable, vintage warehouse buildings."

Among Aparium's other hotels (or hotels-in-progress) are the Hotel Covington, in Covington, Ky.; The Foundation Hotel, opening next year in the Detroit's old fire department hea…

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The Cheel's 1895 home has a new turret that looks just like the original one.
The Cheel's 1895 home has a new turret that looks just like the original one. (Photo: The Cheel)

The Cheel owners restore historic building's turret

In what they call "an effort to restore the building to its former glory," the owners of The Cheel restaurant in Thiensville – Jesse and Barkha Daily – have restored the turret on the northeast side of the Queen Anne building in the heart of the town's Main Street Historic District.

The Cheel, 105 S. Main St., occupies the old Commercial House Hotel at the intersection of Buntrock Avenue, Main Street and Green Bay Road, erected in 1890.

According to the Wisconsin Historical Society:

"This structure was built by Nic Wilson, who also ran the grain elevator that was located immediately to the west and along the railroad line. Opening of the bar took place on Nov. 16 and 17 of 1895. Alvin Riemer purchased the hotel/bar and ran it for a time before selling to William Heusler. The structure functioned as a tavern into the 1970s; thereafter it has served as a restaurant."

WHS also notes that the building's corner turret – which had arched windows and bracketed eaves, was originally topped with a truncated pyramidal cupola.

Ozaukee County personality Bill Conley – known as a businessman and musician, who performs locally with Five Guys with Day Jobs – who has done other restoration work in the area, restored the turret, which is topped with a bronze eagle that serves as a link to the name of the restaurant.

Cheel is the Nepalese word for eagle and the restaurant specializes in Nepalese cuisine.

The eagle is the work of Thiensville artist Allen Caucutt and sculptor Tom Queoff.

Here's video of the turret installation:

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It's true, New York, this is happening in Milwaukee right now. Don't miss it!
It's true, New York, this is happening in Milwaukee right now. Don't miss it! (Photo: New York Post/Mark Hines)

Thanks New York, we love you, too

With seemingly half the city now living somewhere in the 718 (and 212), maybe it makes sense that New York is paying a little more attention to Brew City. Whatever the reason, there's been a flurry of newspaper love from the Big Apple over the past 24 hours.

First, The New York Post ran a listicle yesterday titled, "5 reasons Milwaukee is the best city in the Midwest." The Big Apple tabloid boasting headlines in the biggest type wrote, "While Chicago was busy getting kicked in The Bean these last few months (Jon Stewart’s epic Rahm Emanuel re-election rant; deadly holiday weekends; Spike Lee deciding his next joint will be "Chiraq;" stop us anytime), Milwaukee was quietly situating itself as the undisputed break-out champeen of the Midwest.

"Slight exaggeration? We don’t think so. Miltown has enjoyed one helluva good run of late. (National League Central standings, aside.)"

We say, thank you, though the Crew says, "ouch."

But don't worry Brewers' fans, the old grey lady, The New York Times, has got your back  this morning with a piece on David Denson, the Brewers' farm system player who recently came out.

"In a statement, the Milwaukee Brewers called Denson 'a very courageous young man. Our goal for David is to help develop him into a major league player, just as it is for any player in our system, and we will continue to support him in every way as he chases that dream,' the team said."

And, as if to further cement the idea that Milwaukee is no Chicago wannabe, the Times also included Milwaukee in this story about mid-size market airports, noting that there had been a discussion about changing the name of Mitchell International to something like Milwaukee Chicago North Airport.

"The notion never got off the ground," the Times' Mike Tierney wrote. "'There is too much animosity in this town to be associated with Chicago,'" said Mr. Sorensen, a Milwaukeean who calls the transition in Bozeman to Yellowstone 'an absolute home run.' He added, 'There is a l…

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Don't miss the happy hour specials at Locavore, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Don't miss the happy hour specials at Locavore, from 4 to 7 p.m.

A winning hand at Locavore

Last weekend, I popped over to Potawatomi for drinks, dinner and a couple slots. But, let's get this out of the way early. I did NOT win a million bucks on the penny slots, but our last-minute detour paid dividends of a different kind.

Though our plan all day had been to enjoy the amazing weather by dining al fresco, as we aimed for Downtown on I-94, the sky began to look ominously dark, so we called an audible and rode Canal Street over to Potawatomi, where we selected Locavore for dinner and drinks. I had dined there once previously, at lunch, and found it fine but not especially amazing.

Because we didn't know we'd be going there, we didn't make a reservation and there was a roughly 30-minute wait, so we availed ourselves of a couple stools at the end of the bar and enjoyed a couple cocktails – a dark and stormy and a Bellini (at $5 happy hour prices) – along with charcuterie and Wisconsin cheese plates ($8 during happy hour, 4-7 p.m.)

The cheese plate had a piquant six-year cheddar from Widmer's in Theresa, along with LaClare Farm's Martone – a tangy, ripened blend of cow's and goat's milk – and a sweet, creamy, milky saxony from Saxon Creamery, along with fresh honey, pistachios and crostini.

Meanwhile, the charcuterie board had a range of treats, including Underground Meats' lightly spicy chorizo and a delicious pate, along with pastrami duck, whole grain mustard, crostini and picked veg. The La Quercia prosciutto was a highlight but a tray for two could've used more than a single ribbon of the sublime cured ham.

After a bit of a seating snafu at the host stand, we were seated at the window, where we watched nature's show, as the sky darkened prematurely. Rain began to pelt the glass and lightning streaked the sky, making us more contented with our dining detour.

We ordered entrees of grilled Maine diver scallops ($30) and Rushing Waters rainbow trout ($23), which arrived surprisingly promptly considering the brisk business Locavore was doing t…

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