Vino owner opening new bar in former Lakerz space
That commitment remains true to this day as Borkowski plans on opening his new bar The Etcetera next door to Vino Etc. in the soon-to-be former Lakerz Pub and Eatery, 118 E. Wisconsin Ave.
Lakerz owner Lynn Reed called it a career in February and is selling the space to Borkowski, with the two expected to close on March 19, Borkowski said.
Borkowski and his business partner Jason Schultz plan on transforming the space into a family-friendly bar and grill.
“I’m repetitive when I say this, but when I bought Vino I said I’m bringing the etcetera. Now I am,” Borkowski said. “The bar’s going to be different. The Etcetera is going to be beer, food and spirits. We’ll have it all.”
To Borkowski, “etcetera” means endless, innovative, ever-changing and different, he said.
“I can be focused on what our main thing is, then we can innovate and create and evolve and that’s why the etcetera is important,” he said.
Borkowski said the number one question he has been asked around town is if he will be tearing down the wall between Lakerz and Vino Etc. The answer is simple.
“Absolutely not,” Borkowski said. “Vino Etc. and The Etcetera are two separate pieces even though we marry each other quite nicely.”
Borkowski said Vino Etc. will remain operating as is, specializing in bourbon, wine, beer and having live entertainment, while The Etcetera will offer beer, food and spirits.
Despite Lakerz closing, Borkowski said he wants to maintain the feel and tradition that Lakerz regulars have helped cultivate in the 27 years the business has been downtown.
“Their food is great, the pizza is phenomenal, why change it?” Borkowski said. “We’re going to have some creative things on the menu that we will add, but there is going to be some Lakerz favorites.”
Since the process has begun, Borkowski said it has been great seeing people so excited for the new bar.
During the pandemic, Borkowski lost his job in corporate America and has since moved to working at Vino Etc. full time. The success the bar has seen has shown Borkowski he can successfully do this, he said.
“I proved to myself and proved to my wife that I can make it happen,” Borkowski said. “That my corporate 9 to 5 job is no longer needed because I’m successful over here and it gave me belief and confidence it’s only going to get better.”
Once Borkowski and Reed close on the sale, he said he plans on doing some renovations within the space including replacing floors, walls and opening up the space so patrons can see the entire restaurant front to back.
“Our intention, around June or July, is to open the side wall with a garage door facing the Village Green and have kids playing out there and have people enjoying a family-friendly atmosphere,” he said.
Borkowski said he doesn’t have a specific timeline of when the bar will be officially open. He said he will have a better idea once he and his team start making changes inside and how long that will take.
“We’ve got a lot of handiwork ahead of us and I can’t wait to see people in those seats,” he said. “If the people of this community are as excited as I am, it’s going to be a home run.”
original article, here.