By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Dec 17, 2019 at 2:56 PM

After two years in business, Wild Planet Hospitality Group owners Drew Deuster and JJ Kovacovich have decided to close DiModa Pizza & Hotspot, 1758 N. Water St.

The restaurant, which observed its final service on Sunday, Dec. 15, officially closed on Monday, Dec. 16. The group made the decision after receiving several real estate opportunities that better suit the future of the group and owner’s interests.

"We’ve really enjoyed owning and operating food and beverage concepts at this location," says Drew Deuster, Partner of Wild Planet Hospitality. "But, over the last several months, we’ve received interest from developers and other (larger) food and beverage operators who have always loved this spot … we originally purchased the property as a real estate venture and now it seems like the best time to move on."

Wild Planet Hospitality Group plans to focus its energy on current Water Street staples Red Rock Saloon and McGillycuddy’s while keeping their eyes open to new opportunities.

"After 25 years of being in this business and becoming a recent father, I can tell you, priorities change," says Deuster.. "The city has so many great options for going out … I think it’s a great time to focus on our Water St. properties (and great staff members) and personally, for me and my growing family. Both myself and business partner, JJ Kovacovich are excited for this chapter of our lives."

DiModa Pizza & Hotspot opened in the summer of 2017 on the heels of the closing of Trocadero, an eatery that observed a 16-year tenure at the location. During its time at the location, DiModa made various improvements to the space including the addition of a new bar, expanded four-season dining areas and a wood-burning oven.

Thanks to recent changes to the Water Street corridor and East Side, the property presents myriad opportunities for a new operator to create a neighborhood destination. Despite interest from numerous parties, Wild Planet has not yet accepted an offer on the property and is still entertaining inquiries.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.