By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jan 21, 2016 at 1:45 PM

Port of Call, which has been closed since early January to accommodate a remodel and rebranding, will open as Pier 106 Seafood Tavern on Monday, Jan. 25.  An official grand opening is being planned for mid-March.

The soft public opening will give diners a first look at the tavern, which has undergone a refresh that includes new flooring, barn board walls and light fixtures.

General Manager Stephen Fox says the newly concepted space aims to provide an upscale, yet casual environment where diners can enjoy a warm friendly atmosphere that's perfect for socializing.

The bar – which will feature beer, wine and cocktails, including a few special house craft cocktails – has also been revamped to increase efficiencies and provide a more customer-centered experience. Long benches and high top tables against the front windows will provide comfortable seating for guests.

Run by the owners of the Milwaukee River Cruise Line, the Riverwalk restaurant, located at 106 W. Wells St., was originally opened to serve as a meeting point for private charters as well as a facility to handle catering for the Edelweiss. To facilitate their multi-faceted business, a catering kitchen has been built in the lower level of the restaurant to accommodate river boat dining as well as on-and off-site catering.

"Given the growth of our corporate cruises and the relationships that we have built over the past five years with our clients," says co-owner Daniel Jorgenson, "We have identified an opportunity to serve them year round. We’ve invested in our location to reflect that by creating a meeting room, event space and an 1100 square foot party tent to encapsulate the riverfront patio during adverse weather."

The tent will be used to enclose the patio on select occasions. Meanwhile, an indoor private dining area in the southeast corner of the restaurant, enclosed by sliding barn wood doors, will provide private space appropriate for parties and corporate events.

The seasonal seafood-centric menu at Pier 106 will reflect the talents of Chef Blake Bengsch, a New York CIA graduate who most recently was head chef at McCormick and Schmick's. Specialty items will include pickled fish, house-smoked fish and chicken and house-made sauces.

Appetizers will include crowd favorites like peel & eat shrimp ($4.95 per quarter pound; $8.95 per half pound), fried oysters ($9.95), crab dip ($9.95) and house pickled whitefish and salmon served with shaved red onion and crispy na’an bread ($10.95). Blue crab chowder and lobster bisque will also be available at $4 for a cup and $7 for a bowl.

Features include classic seafood dishes like bouillabaisse ($21.95), crab-stuffed salmon ($24.95), and grilled shrimp served with chimichurri and great northern beans ($19.95). Items like maple braised beef short ribs ($21.95) and grilled sirloin steak ($26.95) will round out the entree portion of the menu.

Sandwiches include a salmon burger with dill yogurt sauce ($13.95), lobster roll ($14.95), fish tacos ($11.95)  and oyster po boy with grebiche sauce ($11.95).

Hours for Pier 106 will be Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and 3 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Both happy hour and daily house specials will be launched in the coming weeks. 

This article has been updated to reflect a revised opening date of Jan. 25.

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.