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Dunkin Donuts moving into Whitefish Bay

Aug. 17, 2011

Whitefish Bay - Dunkin Donuts will be the first tenant in the new retail building under construction adjacent to PNC Bank. The restaurant will occupy the east end of the building at the corner of Silver Spring Drive and Bay Ridge Avenue.

John Clark is the vice president of operations for the Milwaukee Coffee Brewing Co., which owns the franchise for Dunkin Donuts in this area. Clark said the village's Dunkin Donuts will have upscale finishes and signals the re-entry of the restaurant into the Milwaukee market. His group opened a Dunkin Donuts in Menomonee Falls earlier this year.

Two other Dunkin Donuts in the Milwaukee area are not part of this franchise, Clark said.

Some residents who live on Bay Ridge Avenue raised concerns, citing congestion during the early morning hours, the prime service time for Dunkin Donuts and also the drop off time for Dominican High School and the addition of another coffee business to those already in the community.

Pam and Paul Opichka are the closest residential neighbors. In addition to the congestion, they questioned the proposed opening hour of 5 a.m.

"It's too early," said Paul Opichka. "There is no reason to go to 5 a.m."

Some felt the fast food reputation of the restaurant would be a better fit for Port Washington Road.

George Keppler, a business owner, said he supports all businesses but didn't think the business fit in with the historic nature of the business section or was the type of business the village should seek.

"I fear it will draw other 'like' businesses," he said. "I feel bad for Dunkin Donuts to say this won't draw any higher-end retailers."

Clark said the restaurant wants to focus on coffee and offers a menu that has heart-healthy choices.

The menu includes sandwiches and breakfast wraps.

The restaurant use is allowed in that location under the village code, according to Assistant Manager Matt Schuenke.

The Plan Commission approved the plan, which includes indoor seating for 21 and outdoor patio seating for 16. In order to conform with the village parking requirements, Brian Randall, an attorney representing the franchise, said three seats would be eliminated.

The business will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Commissioners said they want to be consistent with the opening hours granted to other coffee shops in the village.

The Architectural Review Board must approve the sign for the business, but Randall said the sign will meet village code requirements.

The building is currently under construction and Clark said he was not able to predict when the restaurant would open.

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