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WürstBar, a venue which aims to offer guests a taste of modern Germany, is slated to debut (very) soon to Brady Street.
Plans for the new bar and restaurant were announced in April of 2020, just weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. But thanks to grit, determination and help from the City of Milwaukee, the new bar and restaurant will officially open its doors in former Green Fields retail space at 1239 E. Brady St. on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m.
Behind the WürstBar concept are industry veterans Scott Schaefer, Andrew Fronek and Darryl Towers, operators of Milwaukee Brat House (Old World Third and Shorewood) and Jack’s American Pub on Brady Street. They created the concept to assist in preserving Milwaukee’s German heritage; but they wanted the project to reflect a unique modern spin.
“When we planned for WürstBar, we didn’t want to take away from places like the Old German Beer Hall," notes Fronek. "Instead, we wanted to create a German concept that was truly different, that reflected a modern view of German culture, and we wanted to do it well.”
Welcome to the U-Bahn
As for its look and feel, the bar and restaurant aims to present a welcoming environment which marries both rustic and contemporary industrial elements to create a space that captures elements of both the classic German brew haus along with a nod to modern day Berlin.
Highlights will include hanging beams wrapped with Edison lights, set off against a ceiling mural created by local artist Antonio Gomez.
Long communal tables inside WürstBar are laser-engraved with tile images from U-Bahn stops in Berlin, including Deutsche Oper and Zoologischer Garten.
The second floor – which was formerly used as an Airbnb – was entirely remodeled to include a vaulted ceiling, as well as a covered second floor patio that overlooks Brady Street.
Speaking of patios, WürstBar will have two: the second floor balcony patio and an outdoor sidewalk patio on Arlington.
The outdoor patio captures a biergarten aesthetic with elements like cut-outs of the Berlin bear incorporated into the metalwork on the fence and entertainment like the must-have hammerschlagen, a nail game that’s a staple at German bars.
On the menu
Under the direction of Chef Curtis Peterson, WürstBar will feature a menu showcasing modern Berlin street fare including flagship items like döner kebabs and currywurst.
Döner kebabs are a product of Turkish influence that – according to lore – originated in Germany in the 1970s. Over time they’ve become an ubiquitous part of the modern Berlin street food scene. WürstBar will offer a house doner made with a mix of beef and lamb that’s been roasted traditionally on a vertical rotisserie. Guests can also order chicken or falafel döners.
As for currywurst, guests will be treated to the bar and restaurant’s signature curry-infused sausage made by Bunzel’s Meat Market. It will be served drizzled with housemade curry ketchup and served with a side of frites.
Additional options will include a schnitzel sandwich (pork schnitzel, Usinger’s apple kraut, dijonese, and Swiss on a hard roll); schnitzel tenders (served with fries or spaetzle and a choice of sauces); and kase spaetzel (spaetzle topped with cheddar, bacon, chives and garlic aioli).
There will also be plenty of Usinger’s sausages on the menu including weisswurst, bratwurst, knackwurst and frankfurters. You can even order up a “Sausage Party featuring weisswurst, bratwurst, knackwurst and currywurst served alongside spaetzel and Usinger’s apple kraut.
As for snacks, there will be fried cheese curds; konigsberger klopse (house meatballs in white sauce served with creme fraiche and chives); and Milwaukee Pretzel Company pretzels served with mustard.
Food options will be accompanied by a beverage program which focuses on a combination of German and local craft brews (12 of which will be on tap), along with wine and craft cocktails.
On weekends, folks can also come in on Saturdays and Sundays, beginning at 10 a.m. for a pared down brunch menu featuring items like steak and eggs.
Fronek says that WürstBar shuttles to Brewers and Bucks games are expected to launch next year. In the meantime, customers can pick up wristbands from WürstBar and use them for the Jack’s American Pub shuttle.
“We couldn’t be more grateful," Fronek notes. "The pandemic has been tough, but we’ve had great staff retention, and our customers have really showed up for us. So, we’ve been able to get through and stay positive. We’ve been working on this concept for so long. It will feel really good to pour those first beers at WürstBar and welcome the neighborhood in.”
Once open, WürstBar’s hours will be Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to to bar time, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to bar time
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.