The Downtown sub wars are heating up, as another Subway franchise will take the place of the recently closed Mocha, 124 W. Wisconsin Ave. Mocha closed this past weekend. Its phone number is disconnected but the Web site is still active.
Mocha, a coffee bistro (as its sign reads), was locally owned and operated by the Mo's Restaurant Group, headed by Johnny Vassallo.
It opened its prime Downtown location in 2005 and quickly became a hot spot for Downtown residents, office workers and Marquette students. Later that same year, the café replaced Starbucks as the coffee vendor at the Henry Maier Festival Grounds.
Vassallo expanded food and drink options through the years, and even looked at partnering on rent with a vendor like Subway. In the end, though, giving up the space made the most financial sense for all parties. Vassallo said he got a "great offer."
"I loved having Mocha," Vassallo said. "We never thought we'd get rich doing coffee but it was an amenity that I thought the neighborhood needed."
I've always liked Mocha and it's the kind of place that Downtown Milwaukee needs. I wish Mo's the best and would ask that Alterra or Stone Creek open a new street level café in Downtown Milwaukee very soon.
The new Subway will be one of the franchise's new cafe store concepts. It will serve espresso and coffee. Potbelly Sandwich Shop is located kitty corner from the space.
I'll post more details as I get them.
noname....I think you are actually Johnny V. Stop going undercover and admit you haven't helped the city of Milwaukee! Your opposition to PabstCity was unfounded, paranoid, and really did hurt our downtown. Plus, you own a building that just sits in the middle of downtown collecting dust. What ever happened to Mo's Hotel??? LOL
Noname | May 12, 2010 at 12:17 a.m. (report)
No matter what type of person Johnny V is, was, or is going to be...congrats on the sale of your business. In todays economy, it is great to be able to just walk away clean. No matter what people say, I have been to all of your establishments at one point or another. I am sure many others on this blog have as well. I am sure they ate, drank, and had a great time. And now that things are turning....I guess it is their chance to get their opinions out from behind a computer screen. It is sad to see the negativity that Milwaukee has in store for someone when at some point in their lives they become a success. It is like they are waiting....in the dark...like an owl waiting for a mouse. Once something happens they can use against you, swooosh! they come down and attack. It is sad indeed.
Anyhow......success is not measured by sitting on ones behind....success is measured by at least attempting something...even if it doesnt work out. Big deal. So thanks for trying Johnny. Some of us appreciate at least that.
Wisconsin Avenue just keeps getting better.....a for-profit college, an empty theater, the sungless cart guy with the white suit, Johnny Walkers, the empty Pure nightclub, Office Depot, a crappy jewelry store, and now Subway! (And that's just west of the River.) GO MILWAUKEE! With a retail selection like that, I'm sure the suburbanites will continue to flock downtown.
I remember reading in the Business Journal a few years ago an interview with Johnny V. in which he announced his ambition to open 500 (or was it 5000?) establishments around the US. I thought to myself, Wow, this man is (A) delusional (B) an egomaniac (C) a nut or (D) all of the above. It looks like he is among those who bit off too much during the bubble. Should have moderated his growth; Mo's Irish Pub was (still is?) a very solid concept. The whole naming everything Mo______ idea was extremely corny.
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