Lake Country is getting a new restaurant courtesy of the owners of Karma, 600 E. Ogden St.
According to owner Drew Konop, he and a business partner will open Baja Grill at the site of the former Kahuna's restaurant on Highway SS at W279 N2221 Prospect Ave., on July 2.
With help from Milwaukee's Flux Design, Baja will be more of a restaurant than a bar and according to Konop will "provide Lake Country with a much needed gathering place. It is definitely not 'Karma 2'," said Konop, a Pewaukee resident.
"The menu will be Mexican American. We will be offering much of what you would find while traveling up the Baja Peninsula: Mexican traditions, salads, wraps, sandwiches and entrees, from coconut shrimp to mahi mahi and steaks. And, you can't call yourself a restaurant in Lake Country without offering a Friday Fish Fry and Sunday Brunch.
"It's definitely a matter of convenience, but more importantly, in our experience it has been hard to find local restaurants with consistent service and quality. There are a handful of excellent places, but we felt there was room to offer another. We intend to hit a reasonable price point that provides an opportunity to return often."
I asked Konop what lessons they'll take from Karma as they open a second location.
"You need to be an owner/operator if you want customers to have a good experience," he said. "We opened Karma poorly, providing inconsistent service and food. That was partly due to inexperience, but we weren't on site to watch what came out of the kitchen or monitor our hospitality. Word travels fast if a customer isn't happy, so we've become full-time operators. We will do the same with Baja."
Expect a soft opening on July 2 and an official grand opening "to be announced something in mid-July. The exact date will depend on our comfort level of how we are operating because we expect to exceed expectations," said Konop.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.