New partnership aims to revive iconic downtown dining experiences
Chef Andy’s Galley 57 to temporarily close, Black & Tan Grille will reopen
By Nick Wood
For Andy Mueller, better known to Press Times readers as Chef Andy, the opportunity to partner with downtown real estate developer Steve Schneider to bring back the restaurant he helped found almost 25 years ago was serendipitous.
“Black & Tan is, I believe, my single biggest culinary accomplishment as a concept,” Mueller said. ”Twenty-five years later it still has staying power because it’s not a static menu – it changes seasonally. We’re really going to take an approach of sourcing as many things local and seasonal as we can get.”
Schneider said when he teased the idea of Black & Tan revival on Facebook, the response was overwhelming.
He said there were three questions that came up: number one, who will the chef be; number two, can I get the original Black & Tan steak; and number three, can I use my old Black & Tan gift certificates.
“And so the answer to all of those questions goes back to 1998,” Schneider said, referring to the chef, Mueller, the original menu and the fact that they will honor old Black & Tan gift certificates?
With that said, Mueller announced that his current restaurant, Galley 57 on Old Manitowoc Road in Bellevue, will temporarily close.
The last day will be August 27.
Gift certificates will be honored until close, and once the new venues get up and running, they will be honored at one of the new establishments, Mueller said.
The good news? Mueller is bringing his entire staff of 23 seasoned employees to the Black & Tan.
“I’m fortunate and blessed to have the staff I have, because now they’re coming in here and all they have to do is learn the POS (point of sale) system and where things are, because they’ve already got the service down. They’ve got the work ethic, they’ve got the drive, the passion, the personality, everything it takes. They’re absolutely amazing.”
It’s as close to a plug-and-play restaurant launch as there is, and they expect the staff to grow to around 60 by the end of September.
“If there is such a thing as being seamless, I think we’re close. It never is seamless, but boy, if you think it could be? That’s a pretty cool feeling that you’re not going in with a panic.”
Meuller said the reason the partnership with Schneider is such a good fit is that a lot of times chefs have big dreams of owning their own restaurant and then get bogged down in all the details.
“That’s when burnout comes,” Mueller said. “Enter Steve Schneider, who is known for his financial savvy, his business savvy, who enjoys those kinds of things, and now I can focus back on food.”
And Schneider says until now, his team has lacked the experience and know-how in the restaurant business.
“Why I haven’t been able to put this together in the last 11 years that I’ve been fumbling around with restaurants is that you need someone with the experience and know-how and the ability to create a culinary team, and develop that team, and that’s what Andy brings to the table,” Schneider said.
In it’s former life, the Black & Tan had a bar area on the first floor of the Bellin Building, 100 S. Washington St., with the dining area on the second floor.
That’s about to change.
The entire second floor is currently under renovation and will add a new bar area, so everything will be on one floor.
But the pair’s new venture, Schneider Mueller Restaurants, has aspirations far beyond relaunching the Black & Tan.
The Daily Buzz Espresso Bar, located on part of the first floor, is also part of the group.
Plans are to expand it to the entire first floor and add a full service kitchen to offer another dining option, craft cocktails, and a more casual place to dining.
In addition to owning the entire Bellin Building, Schneider also owns the Vic Theater building, formerly Confetti’s Nightclub, along with most of the buildings on the 1000 block of Main Street, including the offices of his main business, Bug Tussel Wireless; the former Ralph’s Antiques store; and he is expecting to close soon on the Ten O One Club building.
“We’re re-opening Black & Tan Grille, expanding Daily Buzz and reopening the Ten O One Club, and that’s all before the end of the year,” Mueller said. “Black and Tan will be first, because it’s the closest to being ready. Daily Buzz expansion is going on now and it’s just a matter of how the dominoes fall with the kitchen remodeling and getting things lined up to open.”
And the Ten O One Club plan has a few more details to work out, Mueller said, but it’s close.
It’s all part of the pair’s long term plan to expand and diversify the downtown dining and entertainment scene.
“What we’re doing is going to be iconic,” Schneider said. “It’s going to be a destination project where people are going to be attracted from outside of Green Bay to come downtown. We’re going to have something for everyone – if you like a supper club, if you want fine dining, if you want a quick bite to eat or if you want a VIP experience, we’re going to have something for you.”
Regarding price point, Schneder says you have to offer something for everyone, and welcome everyone no matter what they spend.
A historian at heart, Schneider recalls Otto Kaap, proprietor of the iconic Kaap’s restaurant on Washington Street.
Whether you wanted a fine dining experience or a quick bite to eat, Kaap’s had something for you.
“Even if you only had a nickel, Otto would sell you a pickle and welcome you in just like any other guest,” Schneider said.
That kind of atmosphere, where everyone is welcome and everyone mingles, is exactly what Schneider and Mueller intend to recreate.