By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published May 26, 2021 at 11:01 AM

After just over a month’s hiatus from service, Skybox Sports Bar at 2213 N. Doctor M.L.K. Jr. Dr. will be back in the game just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Even better, when the bar reopens on Friday, May 28 it will do so with a brand new menu of offerings for guests. 

Skybox Sports BarX

The changes, says Toi Lisa Mark (Lockett), who has owned the Skybox Sports Bar  since 2014, stemmed not only from the loss of the bar’s former chef, who moved on to pursue a new opportunity, but also as the result of a year of reflecting and reevaluating.

“The community we serve really supported us throughout COVID,” Mark says. “Customers supported us with carry-out throughout the shutdown. Our building owner has taken good care of us, and we’ve been able to retain all of our employees, rotating them in and out as needed. And, along the way, we were still able to donate back to the community.”  

Mark says the pandemic also gave her time to reflect and look for opportunities to make her business better.

“We’ve taken the opportunity to give things a refresh,” she says, “From the food we offer to the way it’s presented. We wanted to come back better and provide the Bronzeville district with a more mature taste while also remaining true to what we are.” 

To assist, she hired Marco Lezameta, a chef whose experience includes work at Anmol and Belli’s Bistro, to bring new life to the Skybox menu.

“It’s really about converting to more of a scratch kitchen, bringing in new fresh ingredients and giving people different options,” says Lezameta, who collaborated with Skybox general manager Janay Alston, Lezameta has assisted in bringing forward a new vision for the sports bar’s offerings.

Janay Alston, Toi Lisa Mark, Marco Lezameta
Janay Alston, Toi Lisa Mark and Marco Lezameta

On the menu

Among new options are appetizers like hand-battered deep fried cauliflower dusted with Slap Ya Mama cajun seasonings and served with remoulade for dipping ($7), along with Mexican corn ($7); and housemade mozzarella sticks wrapped in wonton skins and served with marinara ($7).

The bar’s Chef Salad has gotten a redux, now featuring fresh spring mix, chopped tomatoes, colby cheese, egg and chicken breast with a choice of Italian, French or housemade ranch dressings ($9).

Chef SaladX

Guests will find pizza swapped out for flatbreads with toppings like jerk chicken, barbequed beef or vegetables ($7-$9), as well as buckets of fried catfish or shrimp ($11).

A new signature burger will also be available, featuring a beef patty (cooked to order) topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, haystack onions, barbeque sauce and a fried egg ($12).

The Box BurgerX

Lezameta says guests can also look forward to upgrades on classic Skybox items (including larger, meatier wings) as well as weekly specials featuring items like steak and salmon.

Alston notes that the sports bar will continue to offer its usual Soul Food Sunday offerings, including pot roast, baked chicken, smothered pork chops, meatloaf, wings or fish (catfish or tilapia), plus yams, macaroni and cheese, dressing, collard greens, cabbage, cornbread and  more (dinners include  one meat and two sides for $13). 

Beginning May 28, Skybox will resume hours Monday through Thursday from 4 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m.; the kitchen will be open daily until one hour before closing time.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.