SUSSEX - Thirsty Duck, a duckpin bowling alley and gourmet pub, is set to open its second location in early May where Boneyard Pub and Grille stands, N64 W23180 Main St.
Boneyard has been operating in Sussex for three years, but will close on its sale with Thirsty Duck owner Dan Zierath on April 3. Zierath said Thirsty Duck will revitalize the location and bring in 50 jobs to the community.
"I think the Boneyard was pretty popular at one point," Zierath said. "The one in Mukwonago does pretty well, but if you go on their Facebook page and read the reviews, you can see what the issues are. Personally, I just don’t know if the owner has time for it. He’s a professional fisherman. Without owner presence, it’s gone downhill and the business has diminished greatly.”
The 19,000-square-foot restaurant will feature 10 bowling lanes upstairs and six downstairs for private events. Live music will be featured during the summer and the restaurant will also offer shuttle buses to Brewers games and music events.
Zierath had looked at more than 30 locations in the Milwaukee area and the surrounding suburbs for the best place to open the second Thirsty Duck.
"My sister called me about a month and a half ago and told me the Boneyard was up for sale," Zierath said. "She lives two minutes from there. I looked at it a few days later and the rest is history.”
Zierath, the owner of Zierath Restaurant Group, operates Jackson's Blue Ribbon Pub in Wauwatosa, which is named for Zierath's son, and the original Thirsty Duck location in Wauwatosa.
Zierath dabbled in the restaurant industry 20 years ago, but soon after opened a commercial painting company.
“You know something, I lived in Elm Grove and one of my pit stops on the way home would be Jo Jo’s Pizza and Pub on 113th and Bluemound," Zierath said. "Everything there was just really slow. For two years straight I asked the owners, 'Hey, if you guys ever want out of here, let me know.' I knew it was a diamond in the rough. The problem there was nobody ever stuck a penny in the place, so nothing was going to change."
Zierath eventually bought the building five years ago with money he had saved from his painting company and turned it into the original Thirsty Duck location. He was intending on simply being an investor, but the business became so successful, he had to leave the painting company and step back into the restaurant scene.
Like its original location, Sussex's Thirsty Duck will serve everything fresh and never frozen, according to Zierath.
"We bill ourselves as gourmet pub food," Zierath said. "We buy the freshest ingredients you can buy. All our appetizers are handcrafted. We put a lot of time and effort in our food. I feel I have one of the best chefs; her name is Nancy Ruiz. She is currently my chef at Thirsty Duck in Tosa, and she’s going to be moving to the Sussex location. We have burgers, pizza, and a ton of gluten-free options for pizza. Chef Nancy makes all her own dough, including the gluten-free dough.”
Zierath said he is most looking forward to giving back to Sussex.
“Our mission is always to give back to the community," Zierath said. "We always want to leave a good impression. We do a lot for the city of Wauwatosa, and in turn, they do a lot for us. Our goal is to make Sussex better and contribute to the job growth.”
A job fair will be held at Thirsty Duck in early April. For updates on the restaurant, find Thirsty Duck on Facebook.