Just over a year ago A.J. O’Brady’s owner Bruce Russell opened Menomonee Falls’ first Irish pub downtown. Now, A.J.’s is on the verge of major expansion throughout Waukesha County.
Russell said they plan to open a 7,000-square-foot A.J. O’Brady’s II on Main Street and Grand Avenue in downtown Waukesha.
“I never got into this to just open and operate one location,” Russell said. “We want to build a little empire.”
Russell hopes to open A.J.’s II in February. He has hopes that he can capture a market of local customers that would traditionally travel to Milwaukee for a night out. He hopes to keep people closer to home.
“We’ve had a lot of success here in Menomonee Falls, and people appreciate our prices and quality,” Russell said.
Russell plans to hire some 115 more employees to staff the expansion in Menomonee Falls, and A.J.’s II in Waukesha.
Russell currently leases the current location across from Mill Pond Park in Menomonee Falls. However, they are just weeks away from signing papers and owning the building. Within the next year, Russell plans to renovate the upper level of A.J. O’Brady’s and add banquet spaces and outdoor dining on the rooftop.
A.J.’s is starting locally, and has signed a lease to occupy the former Angelo’s Café Vino building. Café Vino left a prominent vacancy downtown after the business closed its doors in June. The new expansion will be dubbed, A.J.’s Live, and will open Nov. 1.
Russell said they plan to use the new space for overflow crowds during Tuesday burger nights, and Friday fish fries. They also plan to convert the café portion of the building into a 60-person banquet hall. Russell said he has big plans for the space, but he’s keeping those close to the chest at this point.
However, Russell is investing thousands to install acoustic paneling in the bar – so live music figures to play a prominent role in the new venture. Russell said the primary reason for the expansion is to book more parties.
“Every week we have to turn down people who want to book parties here, but we don’t have the space here,” Russell said. “We also have an hour wait sometimes on busy nights, and the new space will alleviate that.”
Russell said they plan operate A.J.’s Live from 4-11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and from 4p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Russell said a scaled-down menu will be offered at A.J.’s Live.
“We really like the space and the way it’s set up,” Russell said. “We really enjoy that we won’t have to turn down business anymore due to space.”
Russell said he would announce more specifics about A.J.’s Live as the opening date approaches. He’s still working to solidify their plans for the new space.