No more Yanni's
The latest in Milwaukee's ever-changing restaurant news is that Yanni's Steaks, Chops and Seafood, 540 E. Mason St., has closed, though this rumor has been floated constantly since I wrote about it last September.
The rumor appears true this time, as numerous calls have not been returned and today the voicemail at the Downtown dining destination is full. Peeks into the windows of the once highly rated restaurant both last night and this morning make it, indeed, appear closed.
Several area workers and business owners also have said it's closed. The Web design company that Yanni's used couldn't confirm the closing, but Yannismilwaukee.com remains live although its opentable link is down.
That's not official word, but don't bank on Yanni's for lunch or dinner since the doors are locked and voice mail is unattended.
Just this week, most locations of the national restaurant chains of Bennigan's and Steak & Ale abruptly closed and filed for bankruptcy. It's rumored (again, there are always rumors) that a few other Milwaukee area restaurants plan to close their doors in the coming weeks.
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As far as parking is concerned... there really isn't a parking problem. The problem is people don't like to park once and walk to where they want to go. I used to live in the 3rd Ward and I walked to the Metro Market a lot... and people found that odd. Parking problem? That would be Milwaukee Myth #546. :-)
They didn't do much advertising to begin with. Carnevor does and they've created a buzz, whether it's true or not, that they have "one of the best steaks you'll ever have." It also helps that it's located on trendy-as-ever Milwaukee St. The 2 steakhouses in the hotels downtown, the MKE Chophouse (the Hilton) and Mason Street Grill (the Pfister) have a somewhat built-in audience, as they are in the hotel. That in itself is unique.The Capitol Grill, which opened last year (I think) has been crowded both times I was there. They advertise BUT they also have name recognition as there are Capitol Grill Steakhouses in many large cities across the country. That leaves Mo's and Butch's, which again have name recognition and a long history in downtown Milwaukee. Here's an example of how The Mason Street Grill, for one, differentiates itself from, say Yanni's: they have live (EXCELLENT) music many nights of the week, not to mention their bar area is a nice place to hang out in the winter (by the fire place) or the summer (near the patio doors). Sometimes it's not just about the food, no matter how varied the menu.
It cracks me up to hear the statement "Yanni's did nothing to differentiate itself from other steakhouses around Milwaukee." To that I would ask, well, what are EACH of the other steakhouses doing that makes each of them unique? Because, ya know, Yanni's offered way more than just steak.
I agree with you on the parking statement. The only time parking downtown is difficult downtown is on Thursdays during Jazz in the Park. And even then you can still find a spot in a parking garage. I live just three blocks from Yanni's yet I never felt the desire to go. "Steakhouse. What else ya' got going for ya'?" They did nothing to differentiate themselves from the other steakhouses around town.
Yanni's had shockingly great lunch and happy hour prices. Too bad.
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