By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 06, 2021 at 8:26 AM

David B. Boxer, who owned such beloved Milwaukee venues as the Coffee Trader and Henry’s, died Feb. 23 in Santa Ana, California.

Other than a death notice online, the sad news seems to have gone mostly unreported here. The notice was shared July 4 on a Coffee Trader fan page on Facebook.

Born in Milwaukee in 1944, Boxer graduated from Whitefish Bay High School in 1962, and then attended University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette Law School.

After working in for a period in law, he moved into restaurants, where he owned Mo’s Chicken, The Coffee Trader and Henry’s.

Boxer bought the Coffee Trader from John Gardiner in 1984. It closed a little over a decade later.

When he retired in 2007, he sold Henry’s – which had moved around the corner from Downer Avenue to Belleview Place in 1998 – to Nader Pakroo and a group of investors.

After 70 years in Milwaukee, Boxer moved to California to be closer to his son Richard’s family.

He died at the age of 76 in hospice.

When the death notice was published, the family requested donations in support of Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, ATTN: In Memory of David Boxer, PO Box 896076, Charlotte, NC 28289-6076 and online at

Condolences, belatedly, to Boxer’s family and friends.


Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.