Comet cafe, a longtime staple of Milwaukee’s East Side, will reopen next year under new ownership.
Pie Inc., which owns and operates Bay View’s Honey coffee, Honeypie Bakeshop, Palomino, SmallPie and Honeypie, soon to open in Chicago, have taken over the restaurant and plan to resume operations. in the winter of 2022, according to a press release.
Comet has been closed since July 2020, having struggled financially under the COVID-19 pandemic and the operating restrictions that followed. Shortly after the shutdown, the former ownership group Mojofuco Inc. was criticized by employees who said they were fired on the last day of operations after raising concerns about unsafe working conditions and equipment. faulty kitchen.
At the time, Mojofuco co-owner Leslie Montemurro said the issues were taken seriously and Comet would remain closed until it could operate at full capacity and necessary repairs could be made. No timeline has been provided.
Now that Pie Inc. takes the helm, the founder and CEO of the group Valeri Chances goes back to its roots. She and her brother Adam Lucks operated Comet from 2005 to 2015, partnering with Montemurro and Scott Johnson, who opened the concept in 1995 as a neighborhood cafÃ©. The Lucks helped expand the Comet Cafe into a full restaurant and bar.
“It was my first restaurant, âValeri Lucks said in the statement. “Adam developed a menu highlighting comfort food and craft beers that were locally sourced and handcrafted at a time when all of this was still new to the industry.
Lucks added that she was late father helped build the bar and his brother and his friends built the booths, the counter and the tables.
When Comet reopens this winter, its food and drink offerings will be largely unchanged. The Honeypie Bakeshop pie will also be back on the menu.
âBringing Comet back into our fold is an exciting step in our growth,â said Lucks. âComet means a lot to us personally. Many of us in the business got their start there. We have the comet in our DNA.
Pie Inc. was launched in 2015, and Lucks was the sole owner from 2018 until last month, when Executive Chef Derek Petersen became a partner and co-owner. Petersen began his culinary career in 2006 as a dishwasher and line cook at Comet Cafe, before working as a chef at Honeypie. He honed his culinary skills in other roles such as sous chef at La Merenda in Walker’s Point and private chef in Colorado.
Earlier this year, Pie Inc. switched from a traditional âtip wageâ to a minimum wage based compensation structure with a fair and non-discriminatory tip pool for all employees.