As the glow of the NBA Championship lingers in Milwaukee, bars around the city are shifting their stations to accommodate coverage of the belated Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. But there might not be a better place to watch the games than at The Brass Tap, 7808 W. Layton Ave.
After all, there are a number of brand new menu items to enjoy, plus plenty of excitement surrounding the global games, thanks to new owners Andy and Kat Grossman, who are huge fans of the Olympics thanks to their respective backgrounds in track and field and gymnastics.
“We’re huge sports fans,” Andy says. “Both of us root for Wisconsin teams. And we get pretty excited for the Olympics, which showcases sports that don’t always get highlighted. In fact, we’ll both be getting up at 4 a.m. tomorrow to watch the gymnastics competition.”
Kat, who was heavily involved in gymnastics for over 15 years, began training at the age of 3. And, even despite an injury in high school, she continued her involvement with gymnastics for nearly a decade.
“I grew up in Southeastern Minnesota,” she says. “And I had the good fortune to train with an accomplished gymnastics coach. The injury I sustained my senior year in high school prevented me from competing; but I went on to coach gymnastics teams for about eight years afterwards.”
Meanwhile, Andy was an avid participant in track and field for years, competing in decathlon in decathlon events in college.
“I watched a lot of people I knew go on to compete for Olympic spots,” he says, noting that he’s maintained his connection with the sport by coaching for the past seven years at his alma mater in Mukwonago.
New dishes to try
The Grossmans, who took ownership of the friendly craft beer bar this past spring, worked on staff for almost six months before taking over the business fully on March 4.
“We had the opportunity to get to know the regulars and learn the culture here, and that made for a really smooth transition,” notes Andrew. “And we were very fortunate to have taken over an already successful business. We inherited a great staff and were able to retain about 90% of them, which has been great.”
Among them is head chef Tony Olivera, whose creativity in the kitchen has enabled the Grossmans to give him freedom to get creative with the menu, rolling out regular specials and introducing new items on a regular basis.
“Tony is really talented and his specials have gone over really well,” says Andy. “In fact, the specials board is one of the first places people look nowadays when they enter the bar.”
For instance, this week Olivera is currently featuring a housemade stuffed pepper soup ($5); jambalaya ($13) and a chicken apple salad featuring mixed greens, feta, candied pecans, green apples, onions and lemon poppyseed dressing for $12.
In addition, the new menu (which launches this week) will feature a number of additions, including a few chalkboard specials that were popular enough to become regular offerings.
Take, for instance, the chicken cordon bleu sandwich featuring fried chicken, ham, Swiss and honey mustard on a brioche bun ($13 with a choice of sides).
Burger lovers can also enjoy the brand new avocado burger which is piled high with pepper jack cheese, fresh slices of avocado, deep fried jalapeno peppers and spicy mayo ($13).
And yes, guests can also enjoy countless Brass Tap staples, including appetizers like lettuce wraps stuffed with cabbage mix, wontons and a choice of poblano chicken or boom boom shrimp ($10).
Street tacos will also remain on the menu in five variations including chicken, beef, beer-battered cod, Korean BBQ pork or sirloin steak (two tacos on corn or flour tortillas served with chips and salsa for $7-$9).
On Fridays, guests can also stop by to enjoy The Brass Tap’s popular fish fry, which features a choice of beer-battered cod, blue gill or perch or baked cod (topped with citrus butter) with rye bread, coleslaw, tartar sauce and a choice of sides ($13-$15). A combo platter featuring cod, perch, shrimp and boom boom sauce (plus all the fixins) is also available for $17.
The Grossmans note that guests can also look forward to a new, more expansive brunch menu in the coming months.
The Brass Tap is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (with extended hours on weekends, as warranted). Carry-out is also available, plus delivery through DoorDash and GrubHub.
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.