A Valentine to Milwaukee
It’s February, and we’re all in a lovey-dovey mood. The Exchange staff sent an informal survey to our fellow Outposters, asking them who and what they love. Husbands, wives, children, dogs and hot water bottles were the top vote getters, but Milwaukee favorites (and some secrets) got the nod, too. In the spirit of St. Valentine, we decided to share the love with our readers, perhaps you’ll be reminded of a spot you haven’t visited in a while, or learn about somewhere new to you.
“Forget love, I’d rather fall in chocolate.”
Glorioso’s grocery store, east side
Says one Outposter: “I love Glorioso’s on Brady Street. It’s authentically Italian; an old school ‘ethnic’ shop. They’re moving after a gazillion years to a larger location right across the street. I hope they don’t lose too much of their jumbled charm.”
Niemann’s Candies in Wauwatosa has an old-fashioned appeal. Our colleague said she loves the place because she can find top-notch chocolates and homemade ice cream, and it’s like stepping back in time.
Bryant’s and At Random
These flashback lounges on the south side get the vote for old-style appeal. Open since 1938, Bryant’s claims to be Milwaukee’s oldest cocktail lounge, and openly boasts about its velvet wallpaper. At Random (in Bay View) offers Sinatra tunes, a no-hat, cash-only policy and expensive but large cocktails. No beer, no wine, all of the time.
To eat at Tess is to eat in intimate surroundings with an overwhelming sense that only the lucky few know about the place. It’s tucked away in a residential east side spot, and most people know of it because they know people who know of it, or at least it feels that way. It’s a great choice for a romantic dinner.
Amaranth Bakery croissants
Amaranth Bakery makes more than croissants, but the croissants are apparently what one Outposter cares about because she didn’t mention the rest. We profiled Amaranth in January because of their endearing habit of using local produce. They also get kudos for being loyal to a neighborhood that others may have passed up; the 30th street industrial corridor.
Slow Food of SE Wisconsin
We’re talking about a food revolution. And like all good revolutions, this one is organized. Formed in 2003 as a local chapter of a national group, Slow Food of WI (SE) advocates the support of family farms and cooperatives, the growing of local food, and school gardens. The Slow Foodies publish a Farm Fresh Atlas, pointing residents to local food sources and suppliers, farmer’s markets and CSA’s. What’s not to love?
Indulgence Chocolate Truffles
Mmmmm. Handmade truffles. Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, corporate events, romantic break-ups … all perfect reasons for ordering some of these sweet treats made with Belgian chocolate. Buy yours at Outpost, Beans & Barley or Indulge Wine Room in downtown Milwaukee.
Rishi Lavender Earl Grey tea
Not just any Earl Grey tea, but lavender Earl Grey tea. Fancy, eh? Rishi is a purveyor of fine artisan fairly traded teas, and winner of a slew of awards at last year’s main tea event in Las Vegas, Nev. Enjoy a leisurely pot at Anaba Tea Rooms on Capitol Drive in Shorewood.
People We Admire
“Respect is love in plain clothes.”
— Frankie Byrne
Sharon Adams, Walnut Way
“To sustain an economically diverse and neighborly community through civic engagement, environmental stewardship, and economic enterprise.”
That’s the stated mission behind Walnut Way Conservation Corp., a neighborhood organization founded in 1998 by Sharon and her husband Larry Adams. And so far, they are accomplishing their mission daily. Lead by Adams, the neighborhood has taken its streets back from crime and fear. A former drug house became the Walnut Way Neighborhood Center, gardens have been planted, and more than 100 run-down homes have been restored. No wonder Adams won the admiration of our staff.
Tom Crawford, WMSE radio
91.7 WMSE-FM is a non-profit radio service housed at the Milwaukee School of Engineering downtown, but supported by listeners and area businesses. Volunteers host programs, each highlighting a different musical genre. That makes for a diverse, eclectic day of programming. Tom Crawford is the station manager and the man credited with getting the station where it is today as a result of enthusiastic, relentless fundraising. He loves WMSE, and he loves Milwaukee; read any interview with Crawford and that much is clear.
James Godsil is one of those Milwaukeeans who seems to have more ideas and energy than the rest of us combined. His web site was begun as an online magazine and movement resource, and it became a springboard for a variety of civic projects.
Godsil’s latest project is Sweet Water Organics, a fish and vegetable farm he created with Josh Fraundorf in Bay View. The two men took an industrial slum warehouse and transformed it with paint, plants and fish into a vibrant, sustainable aquaculture venture.
Oh, the places we’ll go!
“Lambeau was always special, and so was Milwaukee.”
— Ray Nitschke
One Outpost staffer responded heartily to our survey with a vote for the lake: “I love Lake Michigan. I love that we’re situated on a Great Lake, that it’s so big you can’t see across it, that our city has cared enough to preserve its common areas for everyone. It’s spectacular.”
Milwaukee Central Library
“It’s a beautiful old building … and I love the smell of books.” Enough said.
The Wisconsin Humane Society
“I love our humane society. It’s a gorgeous building that not only houses companion animals for adoption, but has one of the largest wildlife rehabs in the area, if not the nation. It’s never sad there, the animals are well cared for and they have an army of well-trained volunteers and staff to keep it all running. Plus, they run an excellent pet education series for the public. Outstanding!”
This east side gem of a park is currently enjoying some much-deserved tender loving care, with bridges being repaired and a natural waterfall reinstalled. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (the same chap who designed New York City’s Central Park), it is an elegant space, offering Milwaukeeans a peaceful strolling spot and calming views of the lake. The chasms and bridges are charming, and you’ll see people playing croquet, lawn bowling, and golf.
The Domes in winter
We don’t have to explain this one, do we?
“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.”
— Bo Derek
Artist and Display
“In a world of big-box craft stores and online retailers, this gem of an art supply shop is a welcome respite and a huge resource for our community.”
Clinton Street Antique Center
Our source was reluctant to share her south side secret, because she loves it so. She almost whispered that the inventory changes all the time, the store is charmingly merchandised and items are attractively priced.
Samara Studios, North Avenue
New and used stuff, and collectibles. The owners bring a sense of fun to the place and host some wonderful arty events. We could get lost in there for hours.
In a new home on Brady Street, Chartreuse offers organic cottons, both for baby and mama. Our staffer said, “I never leave there without buying something.”
Broadway Paper, Third Ward
What is it about paper goods and stationery? Is it some nostalgia for school days? It puts us in mind of Tom Hanks in “You’ve Got Mail,” telling Meg Ryan he would like to give her a “bouquet of freshly-sharpened pencils.”
The Home Market, 222. E Erie St.
Around the corner from Broadway Paper sits The Home Market. Anyone who loves interior design blogs like Apartment Therapy will find a little piece of heaven here. Some of the items are pricey, but many are gift-priced, and there’s no law against buying yourself a gift once in a while. This store tempts you to do just that.
Winkie’s, Whitefish Bay
Everyone on the north shore has heard of Winkie’s. Upstairs, it’s a Hallmark store, but it’s the basement toy store that earns the place a loyal following. Here, you can buy the latest Lego set, but you can also find old-fashioned classics. Good luck getting your kids to leave.
Sparrow Collective, Bay View
A collective of independent artists and designers, selling handmade items via Etsy.com and in a Bay View bricks-and-mortar store. If you want unique, try Sparrow.
Milwaukee has many consignment stores, all of them fabulous. This is a favorite, and has the good fortune of residing next door to Alterra on Humboldt. Clothes and coffee? Love it.