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Two New Downtown Restaurants Coming

Plus, Goodkind adds brunch and Carini’s adds Neapolitan pizza.

By - Jan 5th, 2015 03:34 pm
Former Espana Tapas House.

Former Espana Tapas House.

As our weekly roster of openings suggests, the dining scene is growing by leaps and bounds. More evidence of this comes from the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, which did a recent press release declaring that Wisconsin’s restaurant sector “is on target to end the year with 2.3 percent job growth,” which is “the best number the industry has seen since it grew 2.4 percent in 2004,” as the Milwaukee Business Journal reported.

And we’re likely to see more such growth in 2015, starting Downtown, with a new place called Agave Southwest Bar & Grill at 800 N. Plankinton Ave. in the first floor of the Cawker Building, a five-story, 117-year-old building located on Plankinton Avenue and Wells Street, as the Biz Times reported.

The street-level space was formerly occupied by Espana Tapas House, which recently closed, and before that, by Butch’s Clock Steak House. TLA Investments has applied for a city license to operate the new restaurant, the story notes, and its registered agent is Taoufik Lahrache, who was a business partner for Espana Tapas House.

-On the pizza front, Carini’s La Conca d’Oro (3468 N. Oakland Ave.), which has specialized in Sicilian dishes since 1996, will soon offer Neopolitan-style pizzas, too, as reports.

The restaurant’s new pizza oven – an Acunto Mario from Naples, Italy – heats to 900 degrees and creates what Chef Gregg Carini described as a “lighter pizza” that is traditionally not cut, but rather eaten with a fork or with your hand. The new-style pizza should be offered by mid-January.

-And remember German food, once a mainstay in Milwaukee and now very hard to find? Von Trier’s, which bills itself as the East Side’s “most famous classic cocktail lounge,” has long offered a German atmosphere and beers, and has just announced it will be reopening its kitchen. “We’re shooting for mid to late January & the menu will be more German influenced with a variety of sausages, shareable items, & sandwiches,” the tavern announced. Meanwhile, the bar’s “Brewery of the Month” is Hofbrau Munchen, which means when you buy one Hofbrau product during Happy Hour, you get the second Hofbrau product free.

-On the brunch front, Goodkind, the still relatively new restaurant in Bay View, has announced it will now offer a Sunday brunch, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The hours for the brunch will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and some of the dishes to be served include oysters Rockefeller, pear and parsnip latkes with cured ivory char and cranberry marmalade and pork cheek doughnuts with chocolate sauce and smoked sugar, with prices ranging from $8 to $18.

-Another new establishment opening Downtown is a country-themed bar and restaurant, to be called Jackson’s On Third, which will be located at 1023 N. Old World Third St. in downtown Milwaukee, as the Biz Times reported. The building was previously occupied by the  Irish Rec Room, which closed in 2013 and the new owner listed on the license application is Mark Zierath, who was the general manager at Molly Cool’s, the restaurant on Old World Third Street that closed last year.

According to the license application, as the story notes, Zierath plans to do a $260,000 renovation to the three-story, 13,000-square-foot building, and has plans to serve “gourmet pub food.” according to the license application. The plans also show 8 to 10 mini bowling alley lanes and five “amusement machines.”

-Finally, Bittercube, the company which makes bitters for cocktails, has moved its production from Madison to the Lincoln Warehouse at 2018 S. 1st St. in Milwaukee, and will celebrate the grand opening of its new place with a party starting at 9 p.m. Tuesday, the Journal Sentinel reports. Guest DJs Chris Rosenau and Jon Mueller of the band Volcano Choir will spin 78s for the party while Bittercube pours free cups of punch. The cover charge for the music is $10, and tickets are available at

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