In Music

The Gobbler was closed for 23 years.

Gobbler Theater opens Thursday

In October, Daniel Manesis told OnMilwaukee he planned to open the Gobbler Theater by the end of the 2015, and it's happening.

The Gobbler – as first reported by The Wisconsin State Journal – will open, well, reopen, on Thursday, Dec. 10.

"I'm very grateful, we've had some wonderful contractors," says Manesis.

The first concert will feature 60 choir and jazz band students from Johnson Creek High School.

"More than anything, we want to fit into the community," says Manesis.

Manesis says the 405-seat venue will host primarily country, Christian, '60s-'80s rock bands and some "good, clean family comedy."

"There's not a bad seat in house," he says.

Country singer and winner of "The Voice" on NBC Danielle Bradbery will perform in January. Country duo Maddie & Tae will also make an appearance in early 2016.

"We will have local musicians opening the shows," says Manesis.

Originally open from 1969 to 2002, The Gobbler was a popular restaurant and lounge known for its rotating bar, purple shag carpeting and menu with a plethora of turkey dishes. Manesis kept a section of the carpeting and foil wallpaper as a nod to the original Gobbler.

Although the interior underwent major renovation, the unique, round exterior looks very much the same. The 16,000-square foot building, designed by architect Helmut Ajango, is located south of I-94 and west of Highway 26 in Johnson Creek.

In the 1970s and '80s, The Gobbler was known for dancing and fine dining. Manesis says although food will not be available on site, he plans to partner with nearby restaurants to offer guests a "dinner and show" option.

Manesis – who has owned a West Allis-based warehousing and trucking business, Daniel A. Manesis Transportation, Inc., for 40 years – says he had wanted to open a medium-sized music venue in or near Milwaukee for a while.

The Gobbler was for sale for 20 years, but it caught Manesis' attention about two years ago, while he was shopping with his wife at the Johnson Creek outlet mall and saw it from a distance.

"I was there in the late '60s when I lived in Madison," says Manesis. "So we drove over there and took a look."

And the rest, as they say, is history.

"We're excited to offer a safe, spotlessly clean, state-of-the-art, ancient, funky night club," says Manesis.


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