Preserving a historical gem, Stephanie and Julian Kegel have taken the reigns on the long standing family owned business, and have encapsulated the historical significance in 2016 to the utmost authenticity. Beginning in 1924, it would be easier to describe what hasn’t changed in this well preserved establishment, the Kegelís are always seeking to solidify the genuine, classic nature patrons have come to know and love for almost one hundred years. Beginning as a soft drink parlor during prohibition, the location undertook the business of bootlegging, distilling alcohol in the basement in a discreet manner. Original owners Anna and John Kegel would then distribute the shots hidden in flasks under Annaís girthy exterior. Doing this for about eight years and accumulating enough money allowed them to expand next door, and since then, the location has remained unchanged since 1933.Generations upon generations of the Kegel family have left their mark on the widely notorious eatery, and the family history that is encompassed is prevalent with the extensive background that is carried. Julianís grandfather, George, took on the reigns as an exuberant nineteen year old, seeking to grasp the concept of how to run a restaurant just like his predecessors. Doing so for eleven years he took on the family business with early troubles that transitioned into the restaurant being handed to John Junior. George had left his mark on the restaurant with the implementations of all new equipment, most of which is still there to this day. John Junior had been working in the restaurant since he was young and had extensive knowledge of how to take on the role, making him perfect for the job. After his time as owner beginning in 1966, it was then handed down to his sons Rob and Jim in 1982, as they operated it with their mother. The business thrived under the new ownership for thirty seven years, and when enough was enough, the men didn’t have any children to hand it down to. That is where current restaurateurs Stephanie and Julian enter the picture and take the restaurant to new heights. Having met in Alaska, they worked in small guide shops for a living, but Julian was always mentioning the fact his family had a historical restaurant back in Milwaukee that might be theirs one day. Paying no mind to a seemingly outrageous possibility, Stephanie and Julian continued their careers in Alaska and four years into their relationship moved to Milwaukee to work at Julianís fatherís bike shop, a long standing talent he had been doing for forty four years. Not being familiar with the bike industry, Stephanie transitioned back into restaurants, and the impossible dream slowly turned into a reality as after working at Kegelís for a short period of time, Julian and Stephanie were entrusted with full ownership in on July 1st. With the impressive and historic background, Julian and Stephanie entered the business with care and respect at the forefront of their values. The couple sought to elevate the experience while maintaining the vast history and have done so flawlessly. The restaurant adorns the same decor, and the menu refuses to change, keeping the integrity and grit of the Kegel family alive and prevalent. With that being said, the experience is heightened, transitioning to more locally sourced produce and local butchers who can provide a higher quality and do not sacrifice the flavor of each dish by any means. No other restaurant has had the nerve to continue tradition, but the proof is in the product, and the efforts to stay honest and original do not go unnoticed. Stopping in not only guarantees a culinary powerhouse that has lasted the test of time, but also a memorable experience paired with a family oriented environment.
5901 W National Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53214