Wauwatosa restaurateur opening new establishment in Menomonee Falls

Restaurateur Chris Leffler is opening a new dining establishment in Menomonee Falls, with plans to renovate the city’s old fire station.

Once a village hall, the fire station was first built in 1929 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The building was used as a fire station from 1966 to 2015, when Menomonee Falls joined firefighting resources with the nearby community of Lannon and built new fire stations.

The 8,600-square-foot, two-story building will be remade into a restaurant and banquet hall which would hold about 300 people.

Leffler owns Leff’s Lucky Town in Wauwatosa and Revere’s Wells Street Tavern in Delafield. This third restaurant is expected to open later this year.

A Wauwatosa resident, Leffler has served on the board of the village’s business improvement district for decades. He’s also an active community member, having raised money for local schools, medical research and other charitable causes.

WEDC is providing Menomonee Falls with a $79,300 grant to support the project. And Leffler is also getting a $257,600 tax credit from WEDC for historic preservation.

Gov. Scott Walker has previously sought to limit tax credits for historic building projects, but was rebuffed by the legislature amid outcry from industry and municipal groups. Tax credits for projects like these have since been expanded with broad bipartisan support.

The project was announced Tuesday as part of a statewide tour which included WEDC CEO and Secretary Mark Hogan, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, WEDC Deputy Secretary and COO Tricia Braun and WEDC Vice President of Business and Community Development Barb LaMue.

These officials traveled to eight communities yesterday for the second annual Wisconsin Main Street Day, which touted WEDC’s Wisconsin Main Street and Connect Communities programs.

“The new restaurant will preserve a historic building in downtown Menomonee Falls that is a key part of the village’s legacy, while at the same time adding momentum to the redevelopment of the historic downtown,” Hogan said.

These programs help fund redevelopment efforts, largely in downtown areas. Matching grants are awarded based on financial need and potential economic impact. According to WEDC, $17 million in Community Development Investment Grants has been given out since 2013, with a projected return of $233 million statewide.

See a rendering of the restaurant plans from Dan Beyer Architects of Milwaukee: http://menomoneefallsdowntown.org/wisconsin-celebrates-downtowns-and-recognizes-menomonee-falls/