Cheel Project Update
May 07, 2021
Jesse Daily - Cheel Restaurant
Cheel Project Update

The Cheel will soon break ground on its new two-story building in Thiensville, following the village Plan Commission’s final approval Tuesday night.

Owners Barkha and Jesse Daily are redeveloping their restaurant after its previous 130-year-old building was destroyed in a fire last year.

The project was unveiled in February. It includes the Napalese restaurant on the first floor and a concert and event venue, tentatively dubbed the Phoenix Room on the second floor, with outdoor seating areas on both levels. The 10,000-square-foot, Victorian-style building will be constructed on The Cheel’s now-empty lot at 105 S. Main Street.

Barkha Daily said the rebuilding process has been emotional and hard. The business needed to make sure the Thiensville community would welcome it back, which included securing sufficient parking.

During the Special Plan Commission meeting Tuesday, there was one ‘no’ vote from Commissioner Ken Kucharski, who said his decision was based strictly on the belief that there wasn’t adequate parking for the restaurant. However, he supports the business. 

“It’s quite exciting now that we’ve been working with contractors, designing layout and equipment,” she said. “Now we can really find a concrete date, hopefully in a few weeks, to have a groundbreaking.”

Daily anticipates the project will wrap next spring. Greenleaf-based The Brookwater Group is heading design and construction.

The Cheel’s redevelopment is partially funded by community donations, through GoFundMe and fundraisers by other local restaurants.

“I don’t know how we could have done without it, and without knowing that there were so many people praying for us, supporting us,” said Daily. “It’s very humbling and we really feel like everyone wants us to come back, which makes us feel like we have to produce for this amazing nucleus of an area that everybody so loves…”

Even without a physical space, The Cheel has continued to serve diners and drive revenue through pop-up events at the River Club of Mequon. Its March 13 event immediately sold out; the next one is scheduled for April 10 and is filling up fast, said Daily. The restaurant is also hosting a Nepali Asian fusion dinner and wine pairing at the historic Maxwell Mansion in Lake Geneva on March 27. 

The Cheel plans to open its adjacent beer garden and live music venue, The Barree, this summer as the new building is being constructed.