By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Sep 07, 2022 at 2:02 PM

After being closed for 54 days, TomKen’s Bar & Grill, 8001 W. Greenfield Ave., is slated to reopen for business on Thursday, Sept. 8 at noon.

The popular West Allis bar –and home of some of the best fried chicken in the city – shut down unexpectedly in the midst of service on Friday, July 15 when the foundation on the north side of their 100-year-old building gave out.

“One of the cooks heard a noise,” says owner Gina Felten, “and when we went to check it out, we found that the front wall of the basement had collapsed.”

And while that was not good news by any stretch of the imagination, Felten says she’s grateful.  “We evacuated everyone in the restaurant and no one was hurt,” she says.

Unfortunately, the process of getting the building’s foundation repaired did not come without difficulty. Despite finding a contractor who began working on the project right away, work was stalled during the duration of the Wisconsin State Fair due to concerns about the amount of traffic around the building. 

Fortunately, they were able to resume the work by mid-August, completing the restoration of the wall over Labor Day weekend, followed by city inspections and approval to resume business.

Felten says they've been busily restocking the kitchen in preparation for their Thursday reopening.

“Being closed for that long was definitely a challenge,” says Felten. “So, we’re just really excited to welcome people back.”

Starting Sept. 8, TomKen’s will resume their usual kitchen hours: Tuesday from noon to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. The bar will remain open later as demand warrants.

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.