By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published May 15, 2004 at 5:46 AM

{image1} It's true: Julia LaLoggia, owner of Barossa restaurant (235 S. Second St.) and Redroom Lounge (1875 N. Humboldt Blvd.), is purchasing Evan's Lounge (2988 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) and the Onopa Brewing Company (735 E. Center St.)

"We kind of stumbled into the Evan's thing," says LaLoggia, who planned to buy Onopa with her Barossa business partner, Deann Wecker, for some time.

LaLoggia says she and Wecker plan to rename Evan's "Lee's Lounge" after LaLoggia's grandma, and that they will eventually open an adjoining diner, called "Lee's Diner." The name change will take place in about a month.

"My grandma (Lee) was a really cool, blue collar, classy drinker," says LaLoggia, whose grandfather worked at the Pabst Brewery for 40 years.

LaLoggia and Wecker don't plan to remodel the interior but may do façade work like adding more windows. "Evan (Barnes) and Bill (Hall) did a great job," says LaLoggia. "We really like it the way it is."

Hall and Barnes, the original owners of Evan's Lounge, had a falling out a few weeks ago, and dissolved their business partnership. Hall later decided to sell the building to friends of LaLoggia's.

By mid-July, Wecker and LaLoggia will also own the Onopa Brewing Company. Current owner, Paul Onopa, is their good friend and ex-roommate.

"We love Paul," says LaLoggia, who grew up in Brookfield before moving to Milwaukee's East Side.

Like Evan's, they will make minor changes to Onopa but plan to add air conditioning, a new floor and an upgraded patio space.

LaLoggia started her career as a bartender at Zur Krone and The Nomad while studying at UWM. After graduating, she opened Dish nightclub that, much to many Milwaukee and Chicago clubbers' dismay, closed after five successful years of business.

"I was growing up and I didn't want to party that hard every weekend," she says. "We had a really nice run, but the restaurant and the lounges reflect more where I am in life."

LaLoggia says she's more mature and serious now, and that she cares more about herself and the world.

"I have a really good life, and I love what I do," she says, which is a good thing considering her seven-day-a-week, sometimes 12-hours-a-day work regime.

LaLoggia contributes a good portion of her success to Wecker's creativity and energy and to the many friends who have helped her along the way. "Friends are always showing up with paint brushes and tools," she says.

As for the future, LaLoggia says she has one more dream concept that she isn't willing to disclose just yet, but for now, she is finished accumulating new businesses.

"Deann and I have more than enough going on," she says.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.