Vacant Pepino's building likely new home of Tomter's Inn in Brookfield
Pub fare would be offered, building remodeled
After being vacant for a little more than a year, the former Pepino's Pizza building on Capitol Drive will soon have a new life as Tomter's Inn, a new pub-style eatery.
David Tomter, owner of the Butler Inn, purchased the building at 17065 W. Capitol Drive. He named the new establishment after his first bar, which was located in Milwaukee. The original Tomter's Inn closed in 1994 after 17 years of business.
"I've always liked the Pepino's building; I've always liked the location," Tomter said. "When the opportunity came up, I decided I wanted to use my last name and revive that again."
He intends to remodel the space, and hopes to present plans to the city of Brookfield within the week.
Plans include pulling out the existing bar and replacing it with a larger bar that will run east to west. He also will make minor changes to make the space feel more open, Tomter said. If all goes well, he hopes to open in May.
"I like to do the glorified pub, that's the direction I'm going," he said. "We'll turn it into a wonderful pub on Capitol Drive."
He said the new establishment will be a little different than the original Tomter's Inn because there will be more food options available. He plans to serve the same menu as the Butler Inn, which includes pub fare such as appetizers, sandwiches, pizza and a fish fry - with a few tweaks.
"As time goes on I'm always looking to add things and make changes," he said. "Right now I want to get my doors open."
As part of his plans, Tomter has indicated to the city that he would like to split the lot and sell the corner land for the development of office space, which is consistent with the city's neighborhood plans, said Tim Casey, economic development coordinator.
"It's good to see a business come into that part of town, but it's also good to see an office building on the corner," Casey said.
The city of Brookfield sees the move as a step in the right direction.
"We would like to see fewer vacancies and more successful businesses, so we are pleased to see a business move into the Pepino's Pizza building," Mayor Steven Ponto said. "It's another sign that things are gradually improving. We want to see the vacancy rates get down."
To fill those vacancies, the city is working to try to attract more businesses. One of the things being done is addressing concerns over the restrictiveness in the sign code. The city is looking to see how the code can be adjusted so that a high level of standard still remains, while allowing the flexibility needed for commercial establishments, Ponto said.
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