By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer 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

Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.

Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.