Shuttered for Over a Year, Comet Cafe Is Coming Back

This beloved cafe is known for its oh-so-delicious comfort food dishes.

Good news coming to you from the local dining gods. Comet Cafe (1947 N. Farwell Ave.) is on its way back! Yep, a partner from Comet’s past – Val Lucks, of Bay View’s Honeypie, Palomino and SmallPie fame – is taking over ownership of the business, along with a business partner. With some work to do to get it good and ready, they hope to reopen the landmark this winter. Comet closed back in July 2020. Founders Leslie Montemurro and Scott Johnson opened the popular hangout in 1995.

Lucks will run Comet with business partner Derek Petersen, who started working at Comet in 2006 as a dishwasher and is now managing partner of Honeypie and executive chef of PIE Inc.

“Comet means a lot to us personally,” Lucks said. “So many of us in the company got our start there. We have Comet in our DNA. We are honored to take stewardship of such a beloved cafe and operate it again.”


 

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A little history here: From 2005-2015, Lucks and her brother Adam ran Comet along with Montemurro and Johnson – co-owners of the Mojofuco Restaurant Group (which operates Balzac Wine Bar, Hi Hat Lounge and others). Comet was known for things like mac and cheese, fish fry and vegan interpretations of dishes like Salisbury steak. There was also something called AJ’s Compact Turkey Dinner  – a Thanksgiving meal in ball form.

“We will be keeping the food, the drinks – everything very much the same,” Lucks said. “My late father helped us build the bar, my brother and friends built the booths, counter and tables that are still there. Much of that menu we created in 2005 ourselves.” 

Lucks says she’s real excited to revive this joint. Fans can expect locally sourced, scratch-made comfort food. The menu, she says, will be “pretty dang close” to the Comet of yore. They will serve pies from Honeypie, as well. She also says they will give the space a “little” facelift. Again, the ETA for reopening is sometime this winter.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.