BelAir Cantina coming to The Corners
About 3,000 job hirings in Brookfield area expected

By CHRIS BUCHER - Freeman Staff

Oct. 29, 2016

BelAir Cantina co-owner Leslie Montemurro, left, holds a t-shirt next to IM Properties Vice President of U.S. Operations, Robert Gould, Town of Brookfield Chairman, Keith Henderson, and BelAir co-owner, Kristyn Eitel, on Friday in the Town of Brookfield. The restaurant was announced as a tenant at the development.
Chris Bucher/Freeman Staff 

TOWN OF BROOKFIELD - BelAir Cantina is coming to The Corners of Brookfield when it opens in April, the company announced at an event Friday.

The restaurant will be located along the northwest end of The Corners Market Square, directly across from the main entrance to Von Maur. It will seat up to 250 guests and include a prominent bar as well as an outdoor patio.

BelAir is described as “a Mexican restaurant with some California flair.” It’s known for its tacos, guacamole and full-brunch menu. Currently, it has locations in Wauwatosa, Oak Creek, and two in Milwaukee.

“Our customers have been requesting us to move to the west side since we opened our first store in 2010, so we have been looking around the west suburbs for a long time,” Leslie Montemurro, co-owner of BelAir, said. “We’ve been looking for the right place, and I think in The Corners we found the right match.”

Construction workers wait in line food from BelAir Cantina on Friday at The Corners of Brookfield in the Town of Brookfield. The restaurant was announced as a new tenant at the development.
Chris Bucher/Freeman Staff 

When finished, The Corners will have 400,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. It will be anchored by a Von Maur department store and Sendik’s Food Market. The complex also includes 244 luxury apartments and underground parking for about 1,400 vehicles.

BelAir will be in a central location at the development in what’s described by IM Properties Vice President of U.S. Operations Robert Gould as a town center-like portion. He said in Europe, market squares are a “gathering place and their origins are a means of exchange for ideas and goods.” Gould added it was a no-brainer to add the restaurant to The Corners Market Square, especially after visiting one of its locations.

“I walked into the BelAir over on North Avenue (in Wauwatosa) and I just thought, I want this, this is what I want,” Gould said. “It reminded me of lively, outdoor eating that you see in squares around Europe, particularly in Spain, which is historically where the roots of all of this comes from. I thought, this has got a buzz, it’s got an atmosphere, it’s got a smell, it’s got noise, it’s got life, that’s what we want in this square, and we want more of it.”

The announcement was made at an event where tours were given and a catered lunch from BelAir was provided for the almost 300 construction workers at the site.

A construction worker works on a steel beam Friday at The Corners of Brookfield.
Chris Bucher/Freeman Staff 

Progressing steadily

Construction at the site, located at Interstate 94 and Barker Road, began in May 2015 and has seen steady progress since then. The numerous structures continue to take shape and the underground parking, which extends 20 feet below the surface, is progressing.

Seeing the construction advance is still surreal for Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, who used to work at the Menards that was formerly at the site.

The Corners Market Square at The Corners of Brookfield. The building pictured is where BelAir Cantina will be.
Chris Bucher/Freeman Staff 

“I worked there back in the mid-90s, so it’s kind of fun,” Farrow said. “And this was my first bill in 2011 when I was in the (state) Legislature, to allow for a TIF in the Town of Brookfield to allow this development to begin. So to see it coming to fruition, seeing what’s happening here, seeing the excitement with 300some employees working right now on this job site is fantastic.”

IM Properties Vice President of U.S. Operations Robert Gould speaks as representatives from BelAir Cantina and the Town of Brookfield listen Friday in the Town of Brookfield.
Chris Bucher/Freeman Staff 

The new Magnificent Mile?

Farrow added that it’s been incredible to see the recent, extensive commercial development in Brookfield along Bluemound Road, including The Corridor, Brookfield Square and Calhoun Crossing.

“You’re looking at the entire growth of Waukesha County right now,” Farrow said. “We were at a meeting a couple months ago and I said, ’We’re challenging Chicago with their Magnificent Mile; we’ve got almost 3.2 miles between Moorland Road and Goerke’s Corners that’s going to be some of the highest-end shopping that’s going to be here.”

He said with tenants slowly being rolled out and announced, the emphasis now turns to a number of issues surrounding the developments in Brookfield.

“We’re looking at a need for almost 3,000 employees along this corridor and it’s going to be anywhere from the restaurant food service industry to retail to the hospitality industry,” Farrow said. “We’re also going to need to find ways to get people to this destination; transportation is going to be a big conversation we’re going to have. We’ll look at bus transit and work to get people here and make sure that the roads and everything are safe and accessible.”