By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jul 31, 2012 at 5:19 AM

Milwaukee area sports fans now have a brand-new home base where they can sit back, celebrate their favorite sports teams and enjoy top-notch cuisine at the same time.

8-Twelve MVP Bar and Grill, 17800 W. Bluemound Road, which opened July 5, is the newest concept hatched by Milwaukee's SURG Restaurant Group, owners of Carnevor, Umami Moto, Mi-key's, Distil and Ryan Braun's Graffito. And it aims to bring comfort food together with a great atmosphere for socializing and game-watching.

The name, 8-Twelve, which might seem cryptic to some, is a reference to the jersey numbers of the co-owners of the restaurant, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. Both Braun and Rodgers had a hand in developing the concept for 8-Twelve, and will be making guest appearances at the restaurant throughout the year.

The restaurant's décor evokes a rustic setting with exposed beam ceilings, barn board accents and paintings from Hidden Creek Farm. The bar area features custom paintings of Rodgers and Braun as well as six flat screen TVs to watch them at work. Sliding glass doors below a barn facade open to the patio where customers can enjoy food and drink alongside 8-Twelve's herb garden.

The menu, a reinterpretation of American classics with a distinctly Wisconsin flair, will include favorites like buttermilk fried Amish chicken ($13), wood-grilled rainbow trout ($14) and a variety of "Rodgers' Prime Cuts" steaks, ranging in price from $25 to $49. Desserts will run the gamut from banana cream pie ($7) to smoked cherry crisp ($8) and scoops of ice cream and sorbets ($3).

In keeping with the restaurant's desire to use locally produced foods as often as possible, the restaurant will source its protein products from SURG CEO Mike Polaski's Hidden Creek Farm in New London. They will also serve local craft beers and award-winning Wisconsin cheeses. All of the restaurant's menu items will be made in-house, from sauces to salad dressings and desserts.

"We are committed to sourcing product not only from Hidden Creek Farm, but also from local purveyors such as Growing Power and Sweetwater Organics," says Eric Kaye, 8-Twelve's general manager.

Most proteins, including prime steak cuts, will be cooked over the restaurant's wood-fired grill, which uses Wisconsin-harvested north woods oak to impart a unique woodsy flavor. The restaurant also utilizes an in-house smoker to smoke beef brisket and ribs.

Owner Omar Shaikh is excited about the public's reception so far to both the food and service, and he has already laid claim to a number of favorite dishes on the menu.

"My favorite dish is the short ribs, along with all of the steaks," he reports, and adds that his favorite appetizer is the restaurant's ultra-creamy shrimp and grits.

8-Twelve will host regular happy hour specials in the bar and on the patio Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6:30 p.m., Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. and during all Badgers, Brewers and Packers games. Specials include $1 off domestic and imported beers, $6 glasses of wine, $5 cocktails and special pricing on appetizers.

Hungry happy hour patrons can also partake in the "Brauny Burger and Beer" special for $10, which includes a half-pound burger on a pretzel bun topped with smoked gouda, sweet onion bacon compote and Worcestershire sauce.

8-Twelve is open for dinner Monday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 4 to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 4 to 9 p.m. Beginning Aug. 3, lunch service will also be provided Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch will be served on Sundays, starting Aug. 5, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.