By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jan 08, 2018 at 10:03 AM

Changes are imminent for Water Buffalo, 249 N. Water St. in the Historic Third Ward.

The restaurant closed after New Year's Eve service and will not reopen in 2018. Instead, it will be replaced by a new concept. And it’s one that Hospitality Democracy co-founder Joe Sorge says will reflect the needs of an evolving dining scene.

"When we opened, we were one of the first restaurants in Milwaukee to take advantage of revitalizing Milwaukee Riverwalk," notes Sorge. "We love and are committed to this location, and we want to introduce something new to the community that we know both our neighbors and visitors to the city will recognize as a new favorite."

In its time, Water Buffalo was one of the city’s new favorites. Voted Best New Restaurant by OnMilwaukee readers in 2007, it’s a place that has seen the city through more than a decade of dining changes. Not only was it one of the first eateries to make use of its riverfront location, it was literally among only nine others that inhabited the surrounding Third Ward and Walker’s Point area. And things have changed. Today, the neighborhood boasts as many as 45 restaurants.

Details for the new concept are still under wraps, but co-founder Angie Sorge says that the location will be redesigned with the help of the folks from FLUX Design to take further advantage of its location on the riverfront. It will also strive to better serve the needs of increasingly savvy Milwaukee diners.

"We will be sharing more information soon," she says. "Ultimately, when we reopen this spring, you’ll find a new space, a better street presence and fantastic food and beverages."

Watch OnMilwaukee for additional details on the concept as they become available.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.