For the past 27 years, Brookfield resident Thomas Kampschroeder has worked on the distribution end of the wine business. Now he wants to bring all of that experience to bear in order to open a wine bar in one of Brookfield’s most visible retail locations.
By the fall, Kampschroeder hopes to open the Salt Creek Wine Bar at 8900 Fairview Avenue, formerly the longtime home of Fisher’s Pharmacy in the village’s Grand Boulevard business district. He’s already signed a lease on the space and plans to do most of the build-out work himself.
Kampschroeder, 59, has worked for distributors like Pacific Wines, Judge & Dolph and Distillery Stock, but after so much time on that end, he feels it’s time to open his own business.
“I decided I wanted to do something on my own,” said Kampschroeder, who has lived in the village for 33 years with his wife, Linda, raising four children.
“I’ve seen how a lot of places are run. The kids are grown and it’s time to pursue my dream.”
During a short presentation before the village board Monday night, Kampschroeder said the wine bar would focus on offering fine wine and small plates of food. He’s also seeking a Class 2 liquor license, which allows a full bar, in order to serve fortified wines such as sherry and port and specialty spirits, such as cognac.
The bar would likely be open six days a week from 4 p.m. to midnight, according to Kampschroeder, and would seat anywhere from 45 to 50 people at tables, couches, lounge chairs and a bar.
The bar would offer a wide selection of wines by the glass, including wine “flights,” where patrons could sample three smaller glasses of the same type of wine by different makers. The flight selections would change on a monthly basis, Kampschroeder said.
A wine aficionado who has visited vineyards in France, Italy, California, Washington and Australia, Kampschroeder said he’s been contemplating the wine bar concept in Brookfield for at least a year, pitching it to both the former owner of the Fisher’s property and the former village administration.
“I want the wine bar to complement businesses on the street, not compete with them,” Kampschroeder said.
And there may be several businesses to complement by fall on Grand Boulevard. In addition to Luna Cafe, a longstanding restaurant on the corner opposite the Fisher’s property, restaurant/bars are planned for two locations on the east side of Grand Boulevard.
Chris Schullo, the owner of Luna, is planning to open The Sandbar, a Caribbean-themed restaurant at 3737 Grand Blvd., while Grand Central Bar & Grill is planning a move down the street to 3747-3747 Grand Blvd.
The Brookfield village board looks interested in increasing the number of Class 2 liquor licenses in order to accommodate the new ventures in downtown Brookfield. At its July 25 meeting, the board is expected to increase the number of Class 2 licenses by two.
Salt Creek Wine Bar would be the second specialty wine bar to open in the immediate area this year. Parallel 42 quietly opened recently at its new space on East Avenue in downtown Riverside.