By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 26, 2021 at 6:02 PM

When the Facebook post went up, I was out of town and missed the sad news. But, it is true. As the Aug. 16 post said, “after 25 years in business Jonny Hammers is closed.”

The West Allis tavern at 6300 W. Lincoln Ave. – which had some of the best wings in town – was operated by Jon Cervantes.

As I wrote in May, Cervantes, 61, was diagnosed with stage four metastatic prostate cancer in January.

His family and friends organized an event and an online fundraiser to help support Cervantes while he was unable to work. (The $5,000 goal of the online campaign has been exceeded.)

Although a TV news story in June said Hammers was open, that didn’t last long and Cervantes posted on the bar's Facebook page last week that it had closed permanently.

Cervantes, who says he’s doing OK, confirms that he has sold the building.

Those wings!

According to a post by new owner Joel Hoecherl, the place – which will be called Jd’s Pub and Grill – has the Hammers wings recipe.

"Yes, we will be having the wings," says Hoecherl. "We are doing a good amount of remodeling and aiming for a Sept. 15 (opening)."

I wish Hoecherl great success and I’ll definitely come over to check out the wings, but one thing is certain: it won’t be the same without the Grateful Dead-loving, wing-slinging Cervantes behind the bar.

(NOTE: This post was updated on Aug. 26 with the new owner's Facebook post and quote.)

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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.