In July we told you that a new, high-end sports bar would replace Vivo on Ogden Avenue. Today, we caught up with one of the partners, Drew Konop, in the group that owns and operates what is now called Karma at 600 E. Ogden Ave.
Here's the scoop in a verbatim e-mail exchange with Konop.
OMC: Who are the owners? Have they run other places locally?
DK: Regarding the management and ownership of Karma. Basically, we are keeping the ownership quiet because we want the establishment to speak for itself. I can tell you that we grew up in Milwaukee and each have spend over a decade frequenting its bars, restaurants and clubs -- getting a feel for "what works" in Milwaukee. We also have traveled quite a bit for our "day jobs" and were inspired to combine a number of ideas from various cities outside Milwaukee (esp. New York, Las Vegas and Chicago).
OMC: Define Karma for us. What can we expect?
DK: Karma's primary niche will be to provide a comfortable place for affordable brunch, lunch and dinner to the local residents and business crowd. Our menu consists of signature burgers, sandwiches, salads and pizzas with a focus on healthier options such as buffalo and ostrich burgers, sweet potato fries, grilled chicken fingers and vegetarian selections. A unique, seasonal menu stand out will be soups and dips served hot in crocks to compliment the original John Ernst fireplace. Karma will also feature Saturday and Sunday brunch (and Bloody Mary). Prices for most menu items will be in the $7-9 range.
Customers will be entertained during their meal by Karma's 17 plasma TVs featuring all available sporting events (NFL, NCAA, MLB, NBA, Hockey, Soccer and international sports tickets), CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News and ESPN. But it doesn't end there. As an added twist, six "premium booths" will allow customers to actually listen to the game or media of their choosing. Finally, Karma will showcase a Las Vegas style sports book scoreboard for up to the minute statistics, scores and game match ups. While there is a focus on sports, there will be no sports memorabilia, neon signs, pool tables or dart machines.
Lunch will be served at 11 a.m., with dinner service ending at 9 p.m when Karma will transition to a neighborhood bar with a mix of '80s, '90s and contemporary hits -- sprinkling in an occasional DJ or live music.
OMC: Flux is designing the space, right?
DK: To pull off a space that would service both needs, we turned to Flux Designs. Flux has been working for over a month on creating an inviting space utilizing rich wood, stone, lighting and deep tones. The facade, walls, and back bars (even the bathroom doors!) are truly works of art.
OMC: Target opening day?
DK: Work will be done soon and Karma will open to the public Thursday, Sept. 27. A three-day grand opening from Oct. 11 to 13 will introduce The Sutra Lounge downstairs. We will kick it off with DJs, $5 martinis and other drink specials all three nights. The Sutra Lounge is a more plush atmosphere without the media -- instead focusing on more intimate lighting, candles and more of the rock wall already on display on the front facade. Observant customers may pick up on a subtle theme.
OMC: Anything else?
DK: Next spring we will begin wine, drink and food service outdoors -- both on the sidewalk and on a more comfortable back deck -- which also features a 42-inch plasma screen, shrubs, candles and a lounge feel.
Overall, we are combining a number of concepts - -from a Las Vegas sports book, to neighborhood tavern, to lounge and finally outdoor wine bar -- and targeting mid 20s and up customers that appreciate higher end liquors, wine, champagne, imports and micro beers. Our taps include Guinness, Harp, Bass, Spotted Cow, Left Hand Pilsner, Sprecher Amber, Stella and a seasonal. Vodkas include Three Olives flavors, Belvedere, Chopin, Grey Goose, Kettle One, Pink and Rehorst. Wine will be available by the glass and bottles range from $15 to $50.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.