Benson’s Restaurant Group: Reveals new R1VER restaurant as The Bridgewater Modern Grill

MILWAUKEE – Benson’s Restaurant Group today announced the name and concept for its brand-new riverfront restaurant, located within the evolving Harbor District R1VER campus. The Bridgewater Modern Grill will make its debut in early fall 2022, with wood-fire and intentionally sourced ingredients throughout its menu offerings.

The Bridgewater kitchen will feature a custom, oak-fed Jade grill, creating nuanced flavor to highlight the role of fire in food. The intentionally sourced ingredients will be prepared on the wood-fired grill and finished with modern touches. In addition to an expressive menu, The Bridgewater will boast a robust wine program.

The restaurant will seat over 165 inside and perhaps one of its most impressive features is its 245-foot-long riverside patio and green space activation zone. The outdoor area will be heated for three season use and be served by a center stage indoor/outdoor bar as well as provide ten boat slips for drive up service.

“The Bridgewater Modern Grill’s full concept is coming to life,” said David Marcus, CEO of Benson’s Restaurant Group.  “The restaurant will offer an experience unlike any other in the area. While it’ll have an upscale, inviting atmosphere, it’s not just for special occasions. With the combination of indoor/outdoor dining, there is space for everyone -– whether celebrating an engagement or graduation, or just looking for a place to grab good food or a drink on the river. With the design help of RINKA, we’ve created an unparalleled experience that is going to be the coolest spot on the river.”

The interior seating at The Bridgewater includes dining, bar, booths with visibility to the open kitchen and a private dining area available for corporate events and social celebrations, seating 30.

The exterior space, overlooking the Kinnickinnic River with access to the public riverwalk, will seat 80 with bar and dining seating. A social patio with soft seating, fire tables and cocktail service, as well as a 1,300 sq. ft. lawn will make up the patio, which is one of the largest and believed to be the longest riverfront patio in the city.

“Boaters are likely going to see a lot of activity here in the next few months as we begin preparing the space. This will hopefully add to the anticipation for what is to come once we open,” adds Marcus.

The new restaurant is being constructed in raw space beneath R1VER’s Tribute apartments on the east side of campus. The construction on those apartments was recently completed and are now leasing. In addition to the restaurant and apartments, the R1VER development includes office and retail space, hotel plans and 1,000 ft. of public river walk. Benson’s Restaurant Group is working with RINKA Architecture on the design of the restaurant.

Earlier this year, Benson’s Restaurant Group, which operates and manages Onesto, Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria, Smoke Shack and AJ Bombers, announced its name change from Hospitality Democracy to Benson’s Restaurant Group with a nod to its family roots and vision for the future. This is the first restaurant opening under the new restaurant group name.


Benson’s Restaurant Group is a family-owned hospitality company based in Milwaukee that conceptualizes, develops and operates a portfolio of restaurants. Benson’s Restaurant Group, a division of Marcus Investments, currently operates and manages four different casual dining restaurant concepts: Onesto, Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria, Smoke Shack and AJ Bombers. The group is also the franchisor of Zaffiro’s pizza brand. Learn more at