"We are not just a Beer, Brat and Cheese state."
How long have you lived in Milwaukee and what brought you here?
I have lived in Milwaukee for the vast majority of my life. When I was 20 I moved to Orlando for a period of time however I never really felt “At Home” like I do here.
How would you rate Milwaukee as a place to work and do business?
I have been blessed with the ability to open multiple businesses in Milwaukee so I have to say that it is a great place to work and do business. There are a lot of good local operators that care about what happens in the community especially in the service and retail industries that I am more familiar with.
How would you rate Milwaukee as a place to socialize and play?
I think Milwaukee is a super vibrant place especially now. There are a lot more networking groups like Newaukee and others that were not around 8-10 years ago that supply great social events and bring people together. As far as play, I am very partial to nightlife especially on Water St. I think we as a city have done a good job creating entertaining venues that offer different options and not just typical places to get a beer.
I live in downtown Milwaukee but I am originally from the Southside. I love Downtown, because the energy of the people and events that happen make it a really positive atmosphere for my personal growth. It is also very convenient for me because it is so close to Refuge, Red Rock Saloon, and McGillycuddy’s.
What is your favorite Milwaukee building?
My favorite building is definitely City Hall. It is crazy to me that it was the tallest building in the country/world for a couple years!
What is the one thing you’d like to change about Milwaukee?
I would like to see the perception of Milwaukee change as viewed from people in other cities. We are not just a Beer, Brat, and Cheese state (not that there is anything wrong with any of those). We are a vibrant, smart, and cultured city that is really starting to put an emphasis on wellness. I hope to have success with Refuge smoothie cafe on a scale grand enough to help change how we are viewed outside of our city and add a little more balance to the way the rest of the country views us.
Joshua Janis owns Refuge Smoothie Cafe and the Water St. bars Red Rock Saloon and McGillycuddy’s.