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Wolf Peach Restaurant

Owner: Wolf Peach LLC
Architect: Pace Architects

September 16, 2012 marked the last day of service at Roots Restaurant and Cellar. After its owner decided to close the celebrated Milwaukee restaurant after eight years in business, developer and building owner Tim Dixon was faced with having an empty building in his own Brewer’s Hill neighborhood. He turned to long-time F&B consultant Gina Gruenwald to develop a new concept for the space. After two weeks, and with the help of an executive chef and a team of former Roots’ managers, Gruenwald became a first-time restaurateur of a new establishment called Wolf Peach.

She turned to KPH Construction on September 28 with their concept and plans by Pace Architects to transform the two-floor 5,500-square foot space into the new Wolf Peach in four short weeks.

KPH Construction immediately stepped to provide staff to complete a full move out of the space starting two days later so that construction could begin on Monday, October 1st.  Utilizing the firm’s extensive experience in storage and logistics, the KPH team was able to move all existing furniture and equipment out of the building. KPH also managed receiving of all new furniture and equipment, stored at the KPH warehouse on South Bruce Street in Milwaukee and scheduled and coordinated all deliveries into the restaurant once ready for move in.

To meet the deadline, promised to the bank, KPH developed and executed an extremely condensed schedule and managed the entire interior demolition. Gruenwald’s chosen subcontractors – many local artisans – along with KPH’s preferred vendors were all managed by Project Manager Steve Madziarczyk. Given the compressed schedule, many of the materials and products were being selected within the 4-week project.  One particular challenge was the addition of a 6,000-pound brick oven, selected for the 2nd floor, requiring special engineering, venting, structural considerations and permitting. Also added mid-project was a dramatic tongue-and-groove wood ceiling, which KPH self performed in the interest of time and quality.

Due to the short schedule and much of the product arriving in the 11th hour, it took exhaustive and exacting coordination by KPH to schedule and stay on top of multiple contractors.  By doing so, KPH was able to work with each contractor to provide them room and time to work while remaining efficient in their trade which ultimately kept the project on schedule and on budget.  KPH is also very proud that because of this coordination there was no overtime incurred or charged to the owner.

The complete renovation included custom metal exterior signage, the street-level dining room (including complete removal of a center dining room bar), the lower level bar and dining space, and the kitchen with its new expo station, copper-clad kitchen bar and brick oven. KPH also coordinated FF&E including the addition of new custom high-top tables and large communal tables referred to as “Stammtisch” (a German tradition of a table for regulars).

Completing the project in four weeks meant that the majority of Roots employees were able to keep their jobs, including the entire kitchen staff and nearly 90 percent of the service staff. It also meant minimizing the number of days a restaurant so important to its Brewer’s Hill was closed. And it allowed the new owner to open quickly, generating much-needed revenue. According to owner Gina Gruenwald, “What KPH Construction and this talented group of subcontractors was able to do in such a short time is nothing less than incredible. As a small business owner, I’m grateful for their hard work, creativity and attention to the schedule and budget.”

Wolf Peach opened as promised on October 1 with two days of full-house friends and family tastings and then opened to the public serving lunch, dinner and Saturday and Sunday brunch.