Japanese restaurant and karaoke bar expand plans for downtown Milwaukee

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Long-standing plans to convert a former downtown sports bar into a Japanese restaurant are developing under a revised proposal.

Ninja Japanese Steakhouse, operated by Li Chai Chen, will open at the former Catch 22 Bar and Grill, 770-772 N. Milwaukee St.

Chen’s initial plans, disclosed in a October 2019 tavern license application, called for a sushi restaurant.

Chen also operates Ninja Japanese Steakhouse restaurants on N88 W15575 Main St., Menomonee Falls and 944 Paradise Drive, West Bend,

This initial proposal was to use the first floor of the 11,900 square foot building for a restaurant and bar, with a possible future expansion of additional seating on the second floor and a karaoke bar in the basement.

But, after a building permit was issued for the work, Chen decided to proceed with the entire project, including the basement bar.

This is according to documents filed with the latest building permit application by general contractor Design 2 Construction Building Corp.

The work will cost around $ 440,000, according to plans. The renovations will include a sushi bar on the first floor.

Chen said on Monday that he hopes the restaurant will be open by March.

Chen’s investment group, Ninja Center LLC, bought the building in May for $ 1.15 million, according to city valuation records.


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