By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Sep 21, 2017 at 3:02 PM

If you haven’t been to MOTOR Bar & Restaurant, 401 W. Canal St., in a while, there’s good reason to make a visit.

The riverfront restaurant not only has one of the best patios in the city (take advantage of the weather while you still can!), but the staff has also been hard at work making improvements to the current restaurant space and adding a brand new casual venue called the MOTOR Can Room.

MOTOR Can Room

The Can Room, a beer bar featuring a bar menu of over 60 canned craft brews as well as a casual menu, is located just to the west of the main restaurant in the space which formerly housed Cafe Racer.

The space itself is designed in keeping with MOTOR’s industrial look and feel, offering both bar and high-top seating along with a small lounge area for kicking back with friends.

Garage doors on the north allow open-air dining on clement days, as well as easy access to the parking area where MOTOR hosts its Bike Nights every Thursday through the end of September.

For now, the signature bar menu features some favorites from the MOTOR – including burgers, tacos, mac and cheese, and desserts – along with a variety of shareable appetizers and bar snacks, most priced under $10, including wings, cheese curds, fried pickles and sliders and brisket nachos. There are also three new fry baskets, including ranch fries with garlic mayo ($5.95), barbecue fries with chipotle ketchup ($5.95) and cheesy fries with bacon ($7.95).

However, Executive Chef Josh Peterson says that, thanks to the addition of a new kitchen complete with fryers and an eight-foot grill adjacent to The Can Room, the menu will be evolving to give it its own unique flair.

"The plan is to revamp the menu to really make it distinct," he notes. "We’re currently looking at adding more small plate style shareable items, really casual things that people can enjoy with a beer."

MOTOR upgrades

Meanwhile, MOTOR itself has also seen numerous upgrades, including new furniture, cosmetic upgrades and a new more customer-friendly configuration.

The wall that once separated the dining area from the bar has been removed, giving the space a more open, accessible feel.

New spacious booths comfortably accommodate families. Meanwhile, communal tables near the bar have been replaced with bar-height tables.

MOTOR and the the MOTOR Can Room are open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.