The renovation process started in August at TomKen’s Bar and Grill, 8001 W. Greenfield Ave., and was completed, for the most part, this week.
The business, which is owned by the Felten family, opened in 1991 and is known for its fried chicken and wing nights.
Brian Felten, the son of the original owner, manages the food operations. He says the impetus for the renovation was primarily to move and expand the kitchen. The new kitchen is twice as large as the old one and now located on the south side of the building which was formerly an apartment.
By moving the kitchen into the former living quarters, the bar and dining space is bigger and more open, with 36 more dining seats available, an expanded bar with built-in cell phone ports and 16-foot ceilings. The bathrooms were also renovated and are now wheelchair-accessible.
Other upgrades include repainted walls, LED lighting and butcher-block-topped tables.
Felten says the menu will largely stay the same, but he plans to feature more fresh, homemade appetizers in the future. "The wings and the chicken will not change," says Felten. "Since that's what we are known for."
TomKen's 50-cent wing night is every Monday and Thursday starting at 4 p.m. Brian has created more than 350 sauces, which he rotates spontaneously from week to week.
Brian also created a build-your-own taco night on Wednesdays called "Nacho Average Taco Night," the Friday "West Allis fish fry" featuring New Glarus beer-battered fish and homemade potato pancakes and a 501 Club steak sandwich – which is a tribute to the 5 0'Clock Steak House, 2416 W. State St., in Milwaukee.
The bar now has 10 taps instead of six.
‘We will have six Wisconsin craft beers and four of them will rotate," says Felten.
TomKen's will host an official opening of the remodeled space in March. Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for the exact date and time when it becomes available.
"It’s been a lot of work," says Felten. "But we’re very pleased with the results."
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.