This year, Five O'Clock Steakhouse, 2416 W. State St., celebrates its 70th anniversary. The thing is, owner Georgia Papadopoulos and managing partner Stelio Kalkounos, thought that landmark wasn't due to arrive for another two years.
Last September, Five O' Clock’s bartender Joe Fahrenkopf was asked by a co-worker at his day job, Jackie Bayer, where he tended bar. Taken aback by the coincidence, Bayer told Fahrenkopf that her parents celebrated their wedding reception at the Five O'Clock ... exactly 70 years to the day.
That sparked an interest in Five O'Clock Steakhouse history, and while doing some research, the current owners, who always believed the restaurant opened in 1948, learned that it actually debuted in '46 (they knew, of course that its related predecessor, 5 O'Clock Club, was older.
Papadopoulos and Kalkounos met with Bayer and her mom, Jeanne Ricci (whose wedding reception is captured in the black and white images that accompany this post), and the idea for a contest was born.
The restaurant is inviting customers to share their earliest, fondest memories, along with photos of Five O' Clock Steakhouse. The winners will receive complimentary dinner once a month until the end of the year.
Five O'Clock is really focused on its long history at the moment, working to restore a mural that was behind the mirrored walls in the bar, restoring and displaying recently discovered historical images of the building that trace its history, from housing a pharmacy and soda fountain from the 1920s, through the early days of Five O'Clock Club and steakhouse.
Kalkounos is also assembling an e-book about the history.
In the meantime, Jeanne Ricci turns 97 years old on Feb. 19. She's been invited to celebrate with her family at Five O'Clock Steakhouse.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.