By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published May 28, 2024 at 5:06 PM

It's the end of a fish-frying era in Franklin, as Wegner's St. Martin's Inn announced it will close this weekend, cooking up its final service on Saturday, June 1. 

The sudden announcement came via a post on the restaurant's Facebook page, with owners Dennis and Kathie Wegner revealing they are retiring after running the establishment – found at 11318 W. St Martins Rd. – since 1997. 

"This Saturday, June 1st will be our last dinner service at the Inn," the Facebook post reads. "We know our goodbye is fast, but this is the right time for our future. Thankfully nothing is forcing us to make this decision other than knowing we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow and it’s time for our next step.

"It has been an extraordinary journey filled with memories, stories, special occasions, and countless amazing meals. As we step into this new chapter of our lives, we want to express our deepest gratitude to our customers, employees, and supporters who have been with us every step of the way. We can’t thank you enough for your patronage and are grateful you were willing to wait for Friday Fish Frys and a special thanks to those who ate with us multiple days of the week. At this point we consider you family!"

While Wegner's St. Martin's Inn has only been around in this current form for less than 30 years, it's always had the feeling and gravitas of a centuries-old local landmark thanks to its welcoming and unpretentious neighborhood atmosphere as well as its deliciously no-frills approach to classic Old World German dishes. The latter came courtesy of Dennis Wegner, whose culinary career took him from Big Boy in the ‘70s and attending culinary school at MATC, to apprenticing under influential Milwaukee dining icon John Marangelli and playing essential roles at local favorites like Mader’s, The Anchorage and Grenadier’s. 

Those modest but marvelous elements combined to make Wegner's St. Martin's Inn a beloved staple both locally and even nationally – its popular fish fry earning a featured spot in a 2006 Saveur magazine profile on Milwaukee's fondness for Friday fish fry.

"While we may be saying goodbye to our restaurant, the connection with each of you will endure," concludes the Facebook post. "As we embark on retirement, we appreciate you for being a part of our journey."

For more of what made the Franklin restaurant such a favorite, check out this hidden gem profile from 2022.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.