I can’t believe it’s true, but the iconic Gobbler in Johnson Creek is coming back.
On May 22, Daniel A. Manesis, of Manesis & Associates of West Allis purchased the long vacant restaurant, that last was, as I recall, a barbecue place and served one of the worst meals I ever had in a restaurant. But that was probably in 1999 or so.
You’ve probably driven past the Gobbler a million times on your way to Madison. It used to have a slowly rotating floor, and was the ultimate in retro kitsch. Across the street once stood a the Gobbler Motel, with themed rooms. That’s gone, too, unfortunately. Johnson Creek Fire Department burned the motel to the ground as a "practice fire" for its firefighters.
Built in 1969, the new owners will convert the property into a live entertainment venue featuring music and comedy. This amazing place was designed by Helmut Ajango and finally closed in 1992. Its story is pretty great, and worth a read.
According to the release, interior remodeling will commence shortly with removal of the "Roost Dance Floor" and conversion of the kitchen area to a stage.
And yes, the revolving bar will remain.
With an anticipated opening in spring of 2015, the Gobbler Theater will provide stadium seating for up to 500. It is adding "state-of-the-art sound and lighting," too.
Here’s to hoping this plan works and the Gobbler is back for good!
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.