Wednesday, Oct. 3 has been announced as the official opening date for the new Tavern at Turner, 1034 N. Vel Phillips Ave. And it’s no coincidence that the date also marks the exhibition game for the Milwaukee Bucks, who play the Chicago Bulls that evening at the new Fiserv Forum.
The former Turner Hall Restaurant is in the process of getting a refresh, thanks to Mike Eitel and his Caravan Hospitality Group, who signed a lease on the space earlier this summer.
"Collaborating with The Pabst Theater Group to bring this space back to life is truly exciting for me personally," notes Eitel. "They’ve done such amazing things for this town by elevating the entertainment scene here and now we have the chance to help make Turner Hall something really special again."
Interior details are currently being spruced; meanwhile, final touches are also being put on the menu, which will showcase a variety of traditional tavern favorites, as well as a collection of globally inspired dishes, at the behest of Chef Joshua Moore.
Offerings will include snacks like loaded fries, Scotch egg, red pepper hummus and a cheese board as well as Korean popcorn chicken. There will also be large, shareable appetizer platters and wings available by the dozen in flavors like "Tavern," piri piri, buffalo and lemon parmesan garlic.
There will also be burgers, like the Surfer Dude, featuring a one-third pound beef patty topped with caramelized onions, pepper jack cheese, chipotle aioli, avocado and tomato and The Tavern Bleu Burger with caramelized onions, blue cheese, aioli, bacon, lettuce and tomato ($12 each)
Handhelds include sandwiches like a Cubano, pulled pork and a banh mi, along with a selection of street tacos, Nathan’s Original hot dogs and locally made sausage from Buddy’s Meat Market in Bay View ($6-9).
Guests can also choose from a selection of salads, grain based bowls ($8-12) or entrees including pan seared whitefish, chicken linguini pasta, seared Ahi tuna, herb crusted salmon or hand-cut ribeye (priced $14-34)
Specials include a Friday fish fry featuring a choice of beer battered or baked cod ($14), fried perch ($13) or Hotfish battered cod with a spicy tempura batter ($14) served with French fries, rye bread, citrus coleslaw and remoulade. Potato pancakes will also be available for $1 more.
Meanwhile, Saturday evenings will feature 10 ounce hand carved prime rib served with au jus, roasted fingerling potatoes and haricot verts ($22)
The space, which has been divided into three distinct spaces, will feature a main dining room (the Tavern) complete with high top tables, television sets and a pool table. The Palm Garden will provide a more open, airy space perfect for special events and private parties. However, it will be equipped with dart boards, pool tables and shuffleboard for customers to enjoy when the space isn’t booked. Meanwhile, the "parlor" will provide a darker, more intimate vibe complete with traditional banquettes.
You can read more about the venue’s interior details – including the preservation of its historic murals – in our sneak peek published last week.
"Turner Hall Ballroom sat empty for decades until we hosted our first show on Oct. 26, 2007. But in our almost 11 years there, the experience for every show goer has always been incomplete without a food and beverage partner in that beautiful space," notes Gary Witt, CEO of the Pabst Theater Group. "Well, good things DO come to those who wait. We are beyond excited to now work with Mike Eitel and the Caravan Hospitality Group team as it completes our show goers experience in a spectacular way with the Tavern at Turner!"
Beginning Oct. 3, the Tavern at Turner will be open seven days a week. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. The venue will also open two hours prior to any weekend events.
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.