Plans unveiled for Fischman’s at Six Corners





by BRIAN NADIG

The former operators of a popular bar and liquor store in Jefferson Park unveiled their plans for Fischman’s Public House, 4054-60 N. Milwaukee Ave., at a Dec. 12 community meeting.

Operators Shanna and Gus Karamaniolas announced that a specialty liquor store, described as a “bottle shop” with a walk-in beer cooler, could open as early as March and the restaurant and bar in the summer.

It would be located inside four storefronts at Milwaukee and Cuyler avenues that are part of the Portage Theater building, where another restaurant and a soap store also are opening. The building’s new owner is renovating the 34 apartments on the upper floors.

Alderman John Arena (45th) called the community meeting because the project requires the building to be rezoned from B1-3 to C1-3 to allow for the sale of packaged liquor goods and to permit the bar component of the restaurant.

The proposed zoning permits a tavern, but a tavern license is not required because liquor sales would be incidental to food sales, Arena said. To prevent a future operator from converting the restaurant to a tavern, Arena plans to issue a moratorium on new tavern licenses along that stretch of Milwaukee.

About 35 people attended the meeting, and no objections to the proposed zoning change were raised.

Arena said that the unanimous support of the proposal was not a surprise given that the operators have a proven track record of hosting a successful business in the ward and hosting popular community events.

Gus Karamaniolas said that it would not be a full-service liquor store and that the inventory would be based in part on the type of craft beers requested from customers. “We have a niche market, and we have a customer base. We really know what they want,” he said.

Approximate hours for the store would be from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., while the restaurant would have longer hours, Karamaniolas said. An outdoor seating area is planned for Cuyler, he said.

Shanna Karamaniolas said that the much of the success of Fischman’s was that customers would strike up conversations with strangers about the taste of a craft beer, making new friends. She said that she hopes patrons at the restaurant would start a new tradition of sharing small appetizers with those at the next table.

Fischman’s Liquor and Tavern closed last summer after 80 years in business at 4774-80 N. Milwaukee Ave., following a reported rent dispute with the building’s owner.

The store was one of five that immigrant Jonas Fischman and his sons opened on the Northwest Side starting in 1915, and several had a large rectangular bar, including one with 65 stools in Jefferson Park.

In recent years Fischman’s, 4774-80 N. Milwaukee Ave., had become known for offering a wide selection of craft beers, attracting food trucks for its bar patrons and holding community fund-raisers and other events, including meetings and farmers’ markets.

Shanna Karamaniolas said that it may be possible to close a portion of Cuyler to allow for outdoor events at the new location.

Arena said that news of Fischman’s restaurant adds to the growing number of eating options in the Six Corners commercial district. “We’re going out, and we’re going to Six Corners. I don’t know where we’re going to eat, but Six Corners has everything under the sun,” he said.

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