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Victor's Pier Street Shanty Closed

Open for just over a year, Victor’s Pier Street Shanty closed quietly this fall after a summer of activities.

It’s true: Victor’s Pier Street Shanty is closed.

The restaurant’s popularity as an outdoor dining spot may have worked against it in the long run, said to Sara Grover, executive director of Port Washington Main Street, Inc.

“I think it may have fallen prey to the seasonal nature of the outdoor dining business. People don’t eat outdoors now,” Grover said, referring to the crisp fall weather.

Building owner Wayne Houpt told JSOnline.com that the closing might be temporary. Attempts by Patch staff to reach restaurant owner Victor Cerda and Houpt were unsuccessful.

Since opening in the summer of 2011, the restaurant, popular for its fish and seafood offerings, hosted outdoor festivals and events like the Blues Bash. They also began holding — preparing, cooking and serving customer-caught fish with a variety of side dishes.

As recent as last month, the restaurant was in the news, without a hint of trouble ahead. 

However, it closed quietly sometime since then, shuttered at least since the end of September and possibly before then.

Why the restaurant closed and whether it will re-open is unknown. Cerda was a seasoned restaurateur, Grover said, having run his own restaurant, Victor’s in Cedarburg, and managed the Bavarian Inn.

“It’s really sad to see a business not succeed as they wanted to,” Grover said.

There may be options available for businesses in trouble.

“If a business finds itself down this road, we encourage them to contact us. We do have resources and can help them before they have to make this kind of decision,” Grover said.

Grover noted that there have been three turnovers of restaurants in the last four years at that location but that the restaurant seemed to fit in well at the marina.

James Meyer October 16, 2012 at 07:23 PM
That's too bad. Like the place.
Betty Fields-Mueller October 16, 2012 at 08:04 PM
My sister and I are going to miss this place! Loved their crab cakes!!!
Matt Schroeder October 16, 2012 at 10:42 PM
When was the last time anyone was there?
MB October 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM
What's the deal with this building? Why can't any business make it work there?
MDS October 17, 2012 at 12:46 PM
MB - Good question. I never dined there for some reason and I eat out in Ozaukee all the time. It just didn't seem to have "curb appeal" when you would drive by. Strange how some places make it and others don't. How does that Chinese restaurant in Theinsville near Chucks Place stay in business, as I never see anyone in their parking lot?
Barbara Walters October 17, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Outdoor eating area needed more shade and atmosphere, perhaps a more nautical theme with old sails providing the shade. Perhaps they needed to entice the seasonal boaters more and have weekend or weekday specials. Maybe restaurants can't make it when the summer people are gone? What do the year-round town residents think?
Matt Schroeder October 17, 2012 at 02:28 PM
MDS: YES! I drive through Thiensville on a daily basis and have that exact thought about that restaurant probably once a week. It's probably a front for some kind of covert Homeland Security operation in a room off the kitchen. Are you sure it is actually open? I've considered trying to go inside just out of curiosity.
Mike October 17, 2012 at 03:25 PM
East Sun is open. We just had take out Sunday. It was excellent.
Matt Schroeder October 17, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Mike: Good to know. I'll confess I didn't even know the name. I'm not a big Chinese food eater but you have satiated my curiosity now. Thanks!
Brian Carlson October 17, 2012 at 07:24 PM
A challenge in many small towns is presented by " hobby businesses" that is businesses that do not have to make profits. One spouse or partner has a lucrative job...the other decides to start a little business...propped up by funds not generated by the business itself. Other businesses are propped up by building owners to attract tenants and avoid the empty building syndrome....again... No way for a realbusiness tocompete. Cedarburg, as an example, has many such businesses and real businesses can't compete. I don't know if this was the case here, but Victors definitely was the best restaurant in town in terms of quality. The chef was a genius. The building isn't the problem.... Local economics is.... IMO. Sorry for Port and for Victor.
Chillywater October 18, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Brian...spot on. Thank you. As the Exec. Chef...Port is worthy of good food...i'm not done in this city! You will taste me again. Investors please come forward. It can and will be done @ the location.
Brian Carlson October 18, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I am glad to hear this. When tourists asked me for a good restaurant, Victors topped the short list. Businesses that do not need to make profits are bad for business unless they have no competition...are unique. I empathize.

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