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New Start at Former Foxy’s Location Encounters Snags

New tenants revamp and redecorate, hoping to open in December, but encounter problems in necessary city approvals.

A new beginning for the bar formerly known as Foxy’s has gotten off to a rocky start in gaining necessary city approvals.

The business owner, Troy Pokut of West Bend, has filed a change of occupancy permit with the city and is pursuing licenses to open a new bar and restaurant, Deville’s Lounge.

However, Pokut and his business partner Christian Zaja of Port Washington are encountering difficulties overcoming Foxy’s reputation.

“I don’t think the council wants another Foxy’s-type of bar in the downtown, especially next to a building that will be the cornerstone for future downtown development,” City Administrator Mark Grams said in a report to the Port Washington Common Council.

Tuesday night, the common council’s finance committee tabled action on the licenses for Deville’s Lounge based on the recommendation of City Attorney Eric Eberhardt.

Eberhardt said that, according to city ordinance, the police and fire chiefs and the building inspector need to complete inspections and investigations before the city approves or denies the licenses. Inspections still need to be completed by the fire and building inspectors, Eberhardt said.

Grams and Police Chief Kevin Hingiss recommended denying the license, according to Gram’s report.

Pokut and Zaja say the new bar will be different than Foxy’s.

Deville’s will have a more of a lounge atmosphere, Zaja said, and will include couches, chairs and tables. They're redecorating, hanging chandeliers, sanding and painting.

“With the changes in the décor, we’re making it nicer, I think,” he said. Zaja said their target clientele is all ages, “older 20’s and all the way up.”

“We want everyone – all ages – to enjoy themselves,” he said.

Zaja acknowledges that there’s been “a lot of concern” by the public but that they are working to get rid of the old reputation.

To address concerns, they’re adding a 24-hour surveillance system with night vision and security staff, Zaja said.

“We want people to have a fun time but we also want them to stay safe,” he said.

That Zaja is a former bartender of Foxy’s which might be one stumbling block but Zaja said he was only an employee and didn’t have a say in how it was run.

He also said that his experience with Foxy’s has been useful in improving the bar: “I know what needs to be changed.”

Zaja said he and Koput respect the community and the downtown area and want to see it improved, too.

“My goal is that I want to be of good stature in the community,” Koput told the finance committee.

“Main Street has been doing a lot and we want to be right there with them,” Zaja said.

Greg Huegerich November 21, 2012 at 09:13 PM
That was my earlier point. Its a Shakedown. Period. The officials need to say bad things to drudge up extra concessions from the new owners. If the new situation goes poorly, then they're also on record as having had concerns. What they don't get is how wildly unattractive that behavior makes the community to potential business owners.
Greg Huegerich November 21, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Not to mention ... if they really want to improve the downtown, they should be making plans to move the water treatment plant out of the field of view. Not harassing new business owners filling a valid need for the community. Our government shouldn't fear people in their 20's having a good time at local establishments, they should embrace it, and see if they can get a 24 hour restaurant to pop up in the area to help things along. The idea that one of the officials had, building a bar more in line with the new tenants next door is fairly absurd. That's basically saying: We want you to build a bar for people who don't go to bars. The fail rate for new businesses in Port is far too high for that kind of closed minded thinking.
jon dough November 21, 2012 at 09:18 PM
These city officals talk as if they went to foxys. You personally witnessed urinating and vomiting outside the bar? Seems to me that this problem goes on at ALL bars but because it isn't owned by buser or chico they will take the bad wrap for everything that went on downtown. I frequently saw police cars outside schooners but we won't talk about that. Get real people when you have people drinking you get the same result at all locations. Foxys was the only place in town that had bouncers to keep things in order and to co-operate with police.
jon dough November 21, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Then why have pasta shoppe, beanies, port hotel, and johns stay in buisness if the "drunks" are so bad? Maybe it was the price of the food and the quality that have forced other restaurants to close?
Honest Abe November 21, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Mr. Hudson, To you and all of the other people that feel the need to speak negatively of these people to make yourselves feel better, GET A LIFE. YOU people are the reason why business fail in Port. This city is"run" by old timers that need a reality check. Ask yourself why we really have so many empty buildings, and failed businesses. You seem to have all of the answer's, yet you are all blind to the fact that you people are most of the problem. I ask you what do you know about the Lanza's? Why do you feel that they "didn't care" about the business or the city? You can not control what people do outside your doors. Have any of you ever ran a business, much less ran a business in this city? Most likely you have not, and if you have or still are in business whats your last name? Unless you are an established name in the community, or related to a family that does, then it seem's as though you need to fight a constant battle to "fit in" and have success. Getting back to you knowing these people, you my friend, are completely clueless. Anybody that knows Mr. Lanza or his father can vouch your speaking out of your behind. I completely understand that Foxy's had a tarnished reputation (mostly because of people like yourself), but to say they don't care... I would just like to apologize for all of us "younger" people that helped keep a business in Port. Also for all of us that never did any of these things stated before. Wish I could go on, elaborate more, but you get the point.
Port Mom November 22, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I'd like to know how much business John's has lost since foxys has closed...
Richard Husting November 22, 2012 at 02:21 AM
I think Port needs a curfew say 7:00 pm.. Violaters would be arrested. Oh I think that is already in place. Just drive through the down town on a Friday or Saturday night. Ghost town.
Terry November 22, 2012 at 10:09 AM
The real irony here, is that if you talk to the police officers that actually had to work with Foxy's, they would tell you that the bar really wasn't a problem. I know several, and in fact they considered the owner and staff one of the more pro law enforcement taverns down there. And the bar shared customers with Schooner Pub. Why isn't the city going after that bar. Oh yea, Chico is part of the "good old boys" network that still seems to get its way in this town. Yet the police department is opposing the license.
Terry November 22, 2012 at 10:13 AM
I believe I remember that Lueptow's story. Wasn't the suspect coming from Schooners? And wasn't most of the broken trees in front of Schooners? And what does any of that have to do with a completely new ownership group, or are we to punish anyone who wants to open a bar in that building for Foxy's sin?
Pat November 22, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Foxys could be replaced by another bar, but in order for it to be successful it would have to have a different culture than Foxys did. Foxys owner was fun, knew how to please his customers, and had great skills for running a business. Where he went wrong was in hiring some of the people he did, and the people who work for you are the people who promote the culture of your business. Foxys had a poor reputation not because it was a poor operation in Port Washington, but because of a few "bad apples" who worked there. As soon as you would walk into the bar there would be a bouncer with his arms crossed who would look at you like he was ready to throw you out for stepping on the same ground as him. There have been multiple stories I have heard about one of the Foxys bouncers starting physical fights with people over something small and telling them he is a trained fighter in every one of these instances. This is the type of culture a couple individuals created that destroyed foxy's name. Unfortunately, I've heard that the owner of the new bar is having their workers get trained at this same gym that "trained" some of the foxys bouncers how to fight and apparently how to start fights. If this new bar wants to be prosper, it will need to create a new culture, not just a new setting, and to do this they will need to take the workers who are bent on vengance possibly from getting picked on in high school and replace them with people who will create a more pleasant, safe atmosphere.
jon dough November 23, 2012 at 01:03 AM
@pat you're hilarious. You are another hear say person. I train at this gym you speak of and bounced at foxys. Not once did I ever say I was a fighter or tell anyone I would use it against them. We are disaplined enough to not use excessive force on anyone. Where you came up with your story is quite comical. I never was out of line with anyone. 9 times out of 10 people where asked to leave and they did. Sorry I didn't look so cheery bouncing as I'm dealing with people drinking and busting my butt to clean up glasses and.restock the bar
Pat November 23, 2012 at 04:50 AM
@jon The bouncer wasn't named Jon. He was a tall guy with a short beard.
Terry November 23, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Bouncers are sorta like cops, in that if everyone likes you, you probably are not doing your job.
jon dough November 23, 2012 at 12:56 PM
No kidding his name wasn't Jon. If you believe this is a real name, that explains a lot.
jon dough November 23, 2012 at 01:17 PM
I really would like to hear a story on how I (the bouncer) effected your bar experience? It seems to me you based this all off of how I look and through what you have heard from small town gossip. You are the exact problem the new owners are facing. You hear something and run around town saying it, thus causing foxys to get a reputation. Before you go and judge, maybe you should get to know someone. Also I hope for people in port to stop believing everything you hear.
Greg November 23, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Dealing with Red Tape 101 If you are ever going to present a plan, to a City Council, Planning Commission, etc., start big, start extreme. For example, if the new owners would have gone in and stated that they wanted to open a 24 hour nudie bar surrounded by a moat filled with rabid alligators, the powers to be would have whittled it down to exactly what the new owners are asking for. It is sad that you can not just tell them what you really need and follow through with it, but power trumps common sense. Every place with a liquor license should be reviewed on an annual basis. If there is documented proof of problems with an establishment, the owner should be warned then revoked, if the problems continue.
Travis November 23, 2012 at 08:17 PM
The chamber needs to encourage business in Port. If foxy's was such a problem then they should have handled that. Maybe the chamber is the reason the downtown hasn't become like downtown Cedarburg as they have often stated was their wish. Sara Grover and the downtown committee have been doing lots to make things happen in Port. Hindering new business whether a bar or a storefront isn't good for the community as a whole. Foxy's never was a great place for the thirty some crowd to hang out. Thats why they weren't there. The Chamber can't force a business to cater to anyone in particular. They can monitor the problems after they start, not imagine them before the new owner has a chance.
Pat Rodes November 24, 2012 at 04:11 PM
In my previous post I made no description of what the bouncer looked like or mentioned his name, but you read the post and defended yourself as if I had described you. That sounds to me like a guilty conscience. Not only have I been told about stories, but I have seen a tall bouncer with a short beard, who now sounds like he's you, use excessive and dangerous force on somebody who appeared to be minding their own business at foxys. I have seen this guy tell somebody to leave and without warning get behind him and wrap his arm around his neck and shout something to the extent of "you should probably listen to me, I train how to fight". You see, if you get rid of the couple staff members who promote this type of aggression and bring their like-minded friends into the bar, then it's reputation will grow to be much more positive and people wont have to hear unfortunate stories about their own staff creating an uncomfortable and unsafe atmosphere,
Neil A Rubble November 24, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Why can't Port have a decent Gentlemens Club? Or adult toy store?
Chauncey November 24, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Hiring a 3rd party security staff from a local gym? NOW that is comical!
jon dough November 26, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Chauncey is right! Why would you want your bouncing staff to be able to defend you, or others?!
Howard Hinterthuer November 28, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Life is way more fun and far less complicated without alcohol.
concerned citizen November 28, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I think people should read some of the police reports and judge after they are informed. My friends ankle was broken in a fight in the bathroom there. Attacked by a friend of one of the possible new owners. He's since lost his foot due to an infection that was caused as a result. I also witnessed with my own eyes a friend severely beaten by bouncers. As stated above it was not Andy it was the staff. A big part of that staff and center of all altercations was one of the potential owners. Just count how many times his name is mentioned in police reports related to Foxys! I agree we shouldn't hold one person accountable for another's actions but this is not the case. These are his actions! I've also personally heard the 3rd shift police officers say this place needs to be shut down. They are aware most of the times the biggest problems occurred Andy wasn't there. If they are going to be different then Foxys why are they promoting through Foxys Facebook targeting the exact same customers? Paint it whatever color you want there is evidence proving the allegations.
Terry November 29, 2012 at 10:26 AM
That is exactly the opposite of what I heard from the officers I know on the department. They told me that their third shift had a good working relationship with Foxy's. But I still have to ask, what does that have to do with someone else wanting to open up a whole new bar in that location?
dave November 29, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Wasn't there just a port cop arested for drunk driving after leaving FOXY"S Just saying anyone can cause trouble when drinking
Terry November 29, 2012 at 06:22 PM
No Dave... Wrong again. It was a Saukville cop, and different bar.
Christian Zaja December 07, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Concerned citizen aka Brandi Seltrect or Rachel Viesellman . Bills ankle was broken by two patrons in that bathroom. I was not even working that night. Those said people were charged. Bill(whose ankle was broken) came into Foxys several times and even years later to visit me. I find the above statement comical.
Christian Zaja December 07, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Hi. I am Christian Zaja. I am 39 years old with two children, a wife and a home in this community. I have bartended for 8 years in this town, in several establishments. Since my name is being slung through the mud by everyone, I just wanted to share some things with you all. 1. I was never any type of manager or had anything to do with any decision making at the former Foxys. I was merely an employee. 2 I am not a "owner", partner or any such with Deville's. My name is not on any license application, lease or the LLC. 3. Yes I have an owi almost 7 years ago and my other ticket is for being in a licensed establishment after hours. I am a licensed bartender who happened to work at that establishment.. Hmmm? well anyways I paid my fine and it was a municipal ticket. Hardly a hardened criminal record 4 Due to all this finger pointing at me I am no longer associated with Deville's Lounge. 5 We did/do have a busness plan. 6 We went to Chief, building inspector and al parties concerned prior to the 1st meeting of the licensing. Building inspection has nothing to do with license approval only to do with building safety prior to opening and actually these issues are all the same issues that have been pending for several years and not addressed by the city. If Foxy's was such a "bad" place and building has not been in code for several years, then why was the licensed renewed on July 1st?
Christian Zaja December 07, 2012 at 10:03 PM
My intention was as Troy's still is to not only change the inside look and feel but to change the "reputation" of the prior establishments and were implenting several steps to do so... I could actually go on and on. The bottom line is none of the above information or actually any information posted in the paper (whether you choose to believe or not) have absolutely nothing to do with approving the liquor license. I wish all the best to Andy in Vegas. I also wish Troy all the best with his business venture. I would also like to thank Mr Mark Grams and Chief Hingiss for all the slander, misinformation, tainting of my familys' name and the cost of my job and feeding and taking care of my family. And grammar police fire away :) I'm a lil too upset to care at this point. And to concerned citizen....most of your bartenders/owners/managers oh and everyday people have an owi and a municipal ticket
jon dough December 08, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Personally saw a friend attacked? I'm sure you are referring to the man who wasn't allowed to be in foxys and resisted leaving. Who then attacked a patron on his way out. Hmm is he the victim?

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