From 1934, when Frank and Anna Vitucci opened My Office tavern there, the 1893 corner tap at 1832 E. North Ave. on the East Side has been synonymous with the name Vitucci.
But since the family closed the longstanding business in November 2019, the fate of that building and its contents has been on the minds of many.
Wonder no more as recently, Bryan O’Boyle, who is CEO of Summit Clinical Laboratories, Adam Jansen and Faisal Ahmed-Yahia purchased the former Vitucci’s from the family for $770,000 and have shared plans to reopen it by this autumn.
They hope to appeal to the same kind of college-age crowd that fueled the success of the place in its last few decades.
“We had toured several bars throughout the greater Milwaukee area before deciding on Vitucci's,” says Jansen. “It was a combination of the great history of the bar, the great potential of the space, and the great neighborhood that made Vitucci's the right choice.
“We went into our search with a flexible mindset rather than a predetermined idea of what we wanted to build, and we felt the neighborhood lends a lot of inspiration that can help to organically guide our development of the building to offer a great hang out for the community.”
But don’t expect to find the same old Vitucci’s next time you walk through the door of the place, which, says Jansen, will be not only a bar but also a restaurant, which is something Vitucci’s hadn’t been for a long time.
“We plan to rehaul the interior with a pretty substantial renovation,” he says. “Our optimistic opening date will be Oct. 1. We'll probably tie a theme into food and cocktail menu items, but we're still in early stages of brainstorming and we're going to let inspiration come to us while renovations are in progress.
“We'll be gutting a lot of the interior and reconfiguring the use of the space but we've talked about keeping a tribute to Vitucci's.”
Jansen says the new place will – like Vitucci’s did over the years – feature live music.
The new venue does not, as of yet, have a name.
There is talk of relocating the classic Vitucci’s sign outside either to one of Mike Vitucci’s area bars like Izzy Hops, the Belmont Tavern, Uncle Buck’s, Caffrey’s or Murphy’s Irish Pub, it’s possible it may also end up in the collection of the Milwaukee County Historical Society.
Though the owners have backgrounds in health care, they are eager to open their new venture, says Jansen.
“The three of us have wanted to start a bar/restaurant for a long time,” he says. “We've been busy with other businesses and are finally getting around to our first venture into operating a bar/restaurant.
“We're bringing in our good friend who has been managing bar/restaurants for 20 years. He will be our service manager and help us guide the development of the place.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.