A little slice of Heaven
Grand opening Sunday at The Villa at Heaven City

By Karen Pilarski - Freeman Staff

August 15, 2015

 The Villa at Heaven City will have a grand opening party on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
Submitted photos

MUKWONAGO - The Villa at Heaven City, S91-W27850 National Ave., is ready to cut the blue ribbon for its grand opening on Sunday.

Chef and restaurant operator Robert Klemm took ownership of the establishment in June. Previously it was The Lakeside Supper Club and before that Heaven City.

Originally he was hired as a consultant for the previous owner of Lakeside. He said, "I fell in love with the place right off."

 "The Villa is a classic name with an old country home getaway feel. You have a chance to get away from everyday life."

Rich history

Klemm says the building has a unique history. It was built in 1917 as a house. Gangster AJ Moore converted it into a restaurant, motel, brothel, and eventually a school.

"AJ Moore was an interesting gentleman," said Klemm. "He was quite the clever schemer with an old gangster heritage."

 The facade and interior has a vintage feel. The building was built in 1917 and some of the original woodwork and paint remains.
Submitted photos

As Klemm recounts, the cornfield behind the building used to be a landing strip. He said, "When it was hot in Chicago and the gangsters had to get out of there, they could land here. They could meet young ladies for a drink." Moore also performed marriages, believing in weddings by contract. Klemm said, "Back then you would meet a nice lady and get hitched. By the end of the weekend, the contract was ripped up and the marriage was over."

Style and ambiance

"The past owners of Lakeside and former Heaven City have their own following," Klemm said. "We are looking to marry the two. We offer the two extremes of high end classy Saturday nights and casual for Friday night and Sunday lunches, a la carte items. They range from $8 and up."

 Robert Klemm strives to make sure guests enjoy their meal and experience.

A house specialty is the craft cocktails. He said, "Our Bloody Mary is a huge 24-ounce drink, 10-inch skewer across it with pickled vegetables, celery, cheese curds and grilled shrimp."

ÊHe aspires for the place to be classy, but not overly fancy. He said, "We offer quality ingredients from local resources such as farmers markets." He maintains relationships with local farmers and vendors.

ÊThe restaurant has eight different dining spaces, including an outdoor patio. The décor has a vintage feel with stained glass, original paint and woodwork. There is a big atrium complete with a 100-year-old rubber tree.

"It is like an exotic oasis," Klemm said. "I like it, it is cool."

The restaurant is a team effort. Klemm said, "We have a strong team of guys. Jimmy Wade, former chef and owner, will be helping. He is retired, but wanted to come back and play."

Keys to his success

Klemm has been in the restaurant business for 20 years. He finds giving a guest a great experience the best part of his job. He said, "It doesn't matter if you are offering service or food, we set ourselves apart by creating an unique experience."

He loves the broad range of clientele that comes through the doors. Customers include foodies who want to learn about the business, first dates, people who are celebrating anniversaries and much more. He said, "We also have people who come down and shoot the breeze with the bartender."

Klemm's approach to business is to stay rooted. He said, "If you have a good-quality product consistently, treat people how you want to be treated, it speaks for itself."

Opening night

The grand opening kicks off with a ribbon-cutting at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The 5 Card Studs will be performing. There will be no food served on opening night, but there will be complementary hors d'oeuvres. Klemm said, "It is free music, free hors d'oeuvres, no cover fee and discounted specialty drinks. Come, it will be a good time."

Email: kpilarski@conleynet.com