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Patio seating at Bougey's a positive step, city official says

Bar plans full table service if outdoor seating wins approval

Jan. 6, 2012

A statewide smoking ban has, at least in part, prompted an outdoor seating plan at Bougey's Bar & Grill, 16760 W. Greenfield Ave.

The city of Brookfield Plan Commission and Common Council have reviewed the proposal, which would add a deck with seating for 20 people to the restaurant and pub. Bougey's owner Gareth Trinko and his construction team just need to iron out details on stormwater improvements before the plan gets final approval, said Dan Ertl, the city's director of community development.

The project is seen as a promising sign by city officials, since businesses have struggled to compete in the down economy and in the face of last year's smoking ban, which prohibits smoking in buildings used by the public.

"No doubt it's a challenge for all small businesses these days, particularly restaurants and taverns," Ertl said. "Mr. Trinko is trying to stay competitive in a very competitive business."

And he's not alone.

Not quite a dozen Brookfield businesses have asked for outdoor seating permits or patio-related remodeling plans over the last year, most of them because of the smoking ban, Ertl said.

"With the state law change last year, it's their only way to compete," he explained.

The smoking ban was one motivation for adding outdoor seating at Bougey's, Trinko said. He also wanted to create a space where people could simply sit outside and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere he has fostered since buying the pub in April, 2008.

"It's not a crazy, kid place," Trinko said. "It's pretty much just a shot and beer kind of place."

Plus, adding outdoor seating would boost capacity for the business, which can accommodate about 110 people inside with a combination of bar seating and pub-style tables.

There won't be any music outside, out of deference to homeowners nearby.

Trinko expects to have full table service outside, so people can order anything from burgers and Reuben sandwiches to pork chops and chicken wings glazed with an award-winning sauce from Legend Larry's in Sheboygan.

Construction could begin in March and be done in June, weather permitting.

Whenever the deck opens, Ertl said, it will be a welcome new chapter for a business that he sees as part of the bedrock of Brookfield.

"It's an old, established tavern and restaurant. It predates the city's incorporation," Ertl said of Bougey's, which was previously known as Rita Rae's and, before that, as Borderline.

"It's sort of a remnant of our formative years as a community, when Greenfield Avenue was a two-lane highway," he said.

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