By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Sep 23, 2017 at 11:12 AM

The East Side’s newest sports bar and restaurant, Izzy Hops Swig & Nosh, is slated to open on
Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 2311 N. Murray Ave., just in time for the Milwaukee Film Festival.

The restaurant is located to another brand new venue, Kawa Ramen and Sushi, which also opens this week (read more here).

Owner Michael Vitucci owns a number of hot spots around town including Belmont Tavern and Whiskey Bar. He says he saw the potential in the space and really wanted to create something that fit the neighborhood.

Cozy neighborhood spot

The bar and restaurant was built with quality in mind. A walnut bar and shelving sit against the backdrop of exposed restored Cream City brick, and a working garage door allows an open air feel on good weather days.

"It’s really a pretty small place," he says. "But I wanted it to be cheery, and I wanted the nighttime light to really stand out."

As a result, he installed high tech LED lights in the walnut shelving that he says really helps to create a specific mood in the space, no matter what time of day it is.

"We’ve been really looking at the changes going on on the East Side and all the people moving into the new apartments … so we paid attention when the BID did a survey of what people were looking for in the neighborhood," Vitucci said. "There was definitely a desire for more restaurants, more healthy options and generally more variety on menus. As a result, we decided to create a really great casual neighborhood sports bar with a really fun menu."

Swigs and noshes

At the bar, guests can enjoy over 30 craft beers on tap along with a large selection of bourbon. Meanwhile, a full menu includes appetizers like nachos, wings, fried cheese curds, shrimp wontons and house chips sprinkled with Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheeses and served with giardiniera aioli. All are priced between $6.95 and $8.95.

Sandwiches include charbroiled burgers like the Smokehouse with pulled pork, cheese and BBQ sauce on a brioche bun ($10.95) along with options like marinated portabella, Italian beef and both eggplant and chicken parmesan sandwiches, all priced at $8.95 and $9.95. There’s also pizza, as well as a selection of soups and salads.

And if you noticed that the menu possesses a uniquely Italian flare, that’s because the chef for Izzy Hops is Tyler Cutsforth of Divino Wine & Dine, a venue with which Izzy Hops shares a kitchen.

Vitucci says that Izzy Hops will eventually serve brunch, though they want to take the time to ensure their regular menu is solid before it launches. So watch for additional information on a brunch launch in the coming weeks.

Izzy Hops will be open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. The kitchen will be open until 10 p.m., offering a more limited late-night menu until midnight.

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.