Restaurant owner sees Northwestern Mutual Tower as reason to expand

Posted at 8:36 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 09:29:03-04

The owner of a popular Milwaukee restaurant sees now as a great time to expand calling the recent building boom a “renaissance.” 

Mike Buckley of Buckley’s Restaurant and Bar is investing more than $1 million in a project that would triple the restaurant’s size.

“We’re going to go from 40 seats inside right now, which includes the bar, to 120 seats,” said Buckley.

He believes now is the time to expand after the recent completion of the $450 million Northwestern Mutual tower.

Buckley, who is a self-proclaimed “numbers guy” looked around at all the new area investment and said, “I don’t claim to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I did know that putting myself within walking distance of 10,000 people at lunchtime was a good idea.”

He figures if he gets just a fraction of those people he’ll be in good shape.

So will other businesses in the area. Matt Dorner, Economic Development Director of Milwaukee Downtown says there is unprecedented development happening right now in Downtown Milwaukee, but especially in the East Town/Lakefront area.

This Downtown Area Investment Map shows the billions of dollars in investment in the area. Dorner said,“There are so many cranes in the air right now, the level of development, the momentum right now in downtown Milwaukee is really spectacular.”

Buckley, 70, never thought he’d be taking on such an expansion of business at this point in his life. But he says this is now a true family business. His wife Pam is famous for the Carrot Cake that the restaurant sells. Their sons Britt and Taylor are in the process of learning how to run the restaurant and daughters Tara and Shannon were instrumental in planning for the expansion.

Buckley’s has been open since 2007. Construction is expected to take eight months with very little down time expected for the restaurant.