By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jul 14, 2022 at 11:04 AM

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There’s a new bar and restaurant coming to a landmark location in Walker’s Point. In fact, it could open as soon as next week.

Revival is the name of the concept, which is slated to open at  814 S. 2nd St. in the former home of Snack Boys.

The restaurant and bar, which will focus on craft cocktails and small plates, will be operated by managing partner Julio Maldonado of Snifters Tapas & Spirits, along with three silent partners.

A Revival for Walker’s Point

The name of the venue is significant, as it pays homage to both the current moment in time as well as to the historic neighborhood in which the restaurant is situated.

“The pandemic has been so hard on our industry,” notes Maldonado. “So this name, this place is a testament to the times. It’s about reviving an historic neighborhood, reviving the building. It’s about culture and community and our ability to once again gather together for a meal.”

The history of the space itself is also not lost on Maldonado, who purchased the building with his partners last year. In fact, he has put his heart and soul into reviving the soul of the property, which has been a mainstay on South Second since 1886. Improvements have included not only updating the electrical and bringing the building up to code, but also entertaining meetings with the Historic Planning Commission with which he plans to continue working to renew the building’s facade.

Portion of building
Photo courtesy of Revival

Most recently the building was home to Snack Boys and before that AP Bar & Kitchen, both beloved concepts in their own right. Prior to that, the property was home to Zim’s Sports Bar and Grill, the Fifth Ward Pub and Fritz’s on Second. But the history goes back farther.  In the 1930s it housed venues including Wimpy’s Tavern and Mike’s Good Luck Tavern, and in 1953, the property was sold to Milun Radicevic, who would later found one of Milwaukee’s most iconic and beloved Serbian restaurants, Three Brothers.

Artful, low-key, delicious

Any one of the above words might be used to describe what Maldonado aims to bring to the neighborhood. Revival, he says, is meant to capture a similar vibe to that created by Snack Boys – a hip, vibrant space offering delicious food, craft cocktails and a convivial, low key atmosphere.

“We really liked what Snack Boys built here,’ he says. “So we’ve made a real effort to infuse the space with creativity and art.”

To do so, Maldonado looked to local artists, including Jake Krason (@Krivzz), Chacho Lopez (@chacholopeztattoos) and local signmaker Raul Nieves (@414choppers) to bring the space to life with signage and murals that embody the spirit of the venue and the heart of the neighborhood.

Exterior sign
Revival's metal sign, made by Raul Nieves, being hung.

Guests will be greeted by an “Eat Drink and Be Merry” mural created by Lopez, along with a beautiful mural that pays homage to Maria Felix, a prominent Mexican actress and singer from the 1940s and 50s. The impressive art stretches across two walls and the ceiling (take a look in the Instagram video below).

The latter is just a sign of what’s to come, Maldonado says, as there is another mural dedicated to Felix planned for the Northern side of the building.

Guests will also find an artful, map-like depiction of Walker’s Point, as well as murals in the restrooms, all created by Krason.

Map mural of Walker's Point
Photo courtesy of Revival

At the bar, guests will find a cocktail menu crafted by accomplished Latina mixologist Veronica Ordaz, who also manages Glass Note Candle Bar. Selections include offerings like the Viva Peru, a riff on the pisco sour; Island Boy, a tropical rum-based quaff; Fresh Vibes featuring cucumber infused vodka; and Pinch of Smoke, a smoked bourbon-based cocktail.  At least two mocktails will also be featured.

Photo courtesy of Revival

As for dishes, the focus at Revival is on internationally inspired small plates which incorporate Latin ingredients. Guests are likely to find offerings like oversized stuffed potatoes with various toppings and housemade salsas along with  bao tacos, a dish which showcases the pillowy soft Taiwanese buns, but with nontraditional Mexican fillings like adobo pork, carne asada and birria.

Bao tacos
Photo courtesy of Revival

Another unique dish likely to be featured is the Street Cone, a waffle-style cone filled with seasoned rice and a choice of toppings from Japanese teriyaki chicken to birria and Peruvian aji gallina.

Street cones
Photo courtesy of Revival

Good vibes

Maldonado says Revival will also host themed nights with local DJs along with live music from local artists.

“Our goal is to create a chill space with good vibes,” says Maldonado. “It’s not a dance club. It’s a restaurant lounge with really delicious food, great drinks that supports local artists and musicians.”

Currently, Maldonado says they are also working through the permit process to add sidewalk seating and potentially a parklet in front of the restaurant before the end of summer.

Revival could open as early as next week. However, due to supply chain issues which have impacted the ability to get the kitchen fully up and running, the bar is likely to open first, with food added in the coming weeks.

Once open, Revival’s hours will be 4 p.m. to close Thursday through Monday.

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.