Andrew McCann
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More Pizza, Craft Beer & Asian Food

More new places coming. And Bartolotta restaurants decides to care-a-lotta.

By - Mar 24th, 2015 12:08 pm
Lucky Ginger. Photo from facebook.

Lucky Ginger. Photo from facebook.

Last month we speculated about the “mystery restaurant” opening next to Rustico Pizzeria. We guessed Asian and sure enough, “traditional Asian cuisine with a contemporary element,” is how the Historic Third Ward Association describes Lucky Ginger, a forthcoming riverside restaurant on Water Street.

The new restaurant will offer a varied menu that runs the geographic gamut, including Japanese, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese options. Specialties from each region – like curries, pad thai, and pho – will be featured on the final menu, and options from a craft cocktail menu will pair nicely with each, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Lucky Ginger will fill the space formerly occupied by Cynthia’s Restaurant at 221 N. Water Street, between Rustico and The Barre Code fitness studio. The interior is being completely overhauled and remodeled, according to the Biz Journal.

Lucky Ginger’s owners believe the new restaurant fills a void in the Third Ward food scene. As it stands, there aren’t many options in the area for customers in the mood for Asian fare. Ginger will open in late April or early May.

Strada Pizza

We reported last month that Bay View’s newest pizza joint was due to open in late March, and yes, Strada Pizza, 2301 S. Howell Ave., opened on Saturday.

Strada serves New York-style pizza out of the former Mr. Webo’s space. The pies are hand-made and hand-tossed, and are available whole – from 10 to 20 inches – or by the slice. The menu presents over 30 options to choose from, with categories with something for meat lovers, vegetarians, and omnivores alike. If none of those are to your liking, you can always create your own from an exhaustive list of toppings.

Strada is Italian for “street,” which is perhaps a clue to its laid-back style. Take one menu option, which layers a standard pie with pepperoni, sausage, ham, and two types of salami. Its name? The New York Meat Factory.

Plenty of choices besides pizza are also available. Strada features unique burgers, oven-toasted sandwiches, salads, and wraps, as well as wings and a daily soup option.

Strada Pizza opens daily at 10am. Closing hours are 10pm Monday through Thursday, 11pm on Friday and Saturday, and 9pm on Sunday.

Surly Brewing’s Tap Takeover

Minneapolis’ darling craft beer brewer, Surly Brewing, went from whipping up their first batch in a converted abrasives factory to building their own “Destination Brewery” in about 10 years. After opening their new digs late last year, Surly has begun expanding distribution beyond Minnesota. Milwaukee is squarely in their sights, if a report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is any indication.

The Vanguard will donate their space and taps on March 28th for Surly’s promotional tap takeover, featuring a dozen Surly brews, including Darkness, a rare Russian imperial stout. Both cans and tap beer will be available. Never one to miss an opportunity, Vanguard will feature several specialty sausages for the occasion prepared by Vanguard’s Shay Linkus and Surly’s Jorge Guzman, respectively.

The Surly event marks the debut of Vanguard’s patio, which will be put to good use during the event. So mark your calendar for March 28. The event is scheduled to run until 8pm.

Beer Snobs Ale & Eats

Speaking of craft brewing, out in Hartland you can expect a new haven for craft-lovers this summer, if it gets approval from the village board. Beer Snobs Ale & Eats will afford guests a casual dining experience that features an expansive selection of quality craft brews. A menu of burgers, pizza, and appetizers will complement the drinks.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, business partners Steve Berger and Harry Berg plan to open Beer Snobs in a 1922 building at 122 Cottonwood Avenue. They plan a number of renovations to the existing structure. These include adding a patio and installing three garage doors for easy access. The bar will feature 24 taps and also offer wine and cocktails.

Milwaukee Pretzel Co.

The king of Milwaukee pretzels is moving out of the Third Ward to a new facility, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. Since it started up in 2013, Milwaukee Pretzel Co. has become well-known for its quality pretzels, prepared following traditional Bavarian methods and recipes.

The distinctive flavor has made the company’s pretzel products highly sought-after, especially during festival season. With spring upon us, and Milwaukee’s fests soon to follow, owners Matt and Katie Wessel thought it was time to upgrade. The pair leased a large industrial space at 3950 N. Holton Ave. and will be ramping up production with newly-purchased machinery from Germany.

Currently, the Wessels work out of a shared space with Kasana Restaurant & Bar at 241 N. Broadway. According to the Business Journal, the company provides all the pretzels for Germanfest, and has recently signed to do the same for this year’s Jazz in the Park. On average, Milwaukee Pretzel Co. turns out over 3,000 products a week. That figure spikes dramatically during the festival season. With the new location and upgraded facilities, Milwaukee’s pretzel kings are hoping to meet the demand.

Bartolotta Restaurants’ Charity Campaign

Every year, the Bartolotta Restaurant Group selects a local nonprofit as a partner for its Care-a-lotta Spot-On Campaign. Bartolotta works with the selected group for six months, helping to raise funds, garner support, and promote awareness of its mission. Past winners of the Bartolotta Group’s support are the Victory Garden Initiative and Pathfinder Milwaukee. Starting this month, the Urban Ecology Center is the latest Milwaukee organization to receive Cara-a-lotta’s promotion.

“Care-a-lotta is the charitable arm of The Bartolotta Restaurants,” according to the official site. The Spot-On Campaign is one of three Care-a-lotta programs. For this year’s campaign, to raise awareness and garner support for the Urban Ecology Center, Bartolotta restaurants will feature a special drink and a special appetizer or dessert in honor of the group, and a portion of all purchases will go to the Urban Ecology Center. Participating restaurants include Bacchus, Lake Park Bistro, the Rumpus Room, and Ristorante Bartolotta. See the full list of restaurants and specials here.

According to, the Care-a-lotta Board and the Urban Ecology Center will work together to organize a 5k run/walk to raise further support. The event will be held later this year at one of the Urban Ecology Center’s three locations.

The Urban Ecology Center will also be able to use Northpoint, Bartolotta’s lakefront custard stand as a promotional platform when it opens later this year. Past Care-a-lotta campaigns have seen raised-bed vegetable gardens planted around the stand by the Victory Garden Initiative, and mattresses arranged on the roof by Pathfinder Milwaukee to raise awareness of homelessness in Milwaukee’s youth community.

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