Mitchel Writt
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Finally, City Gets a… Poke Restaurant

Plus: new Walkers Point jazz lounge and Caribbean bar on Van Buren.

By - Sep 7th, 2016 03:54 pm
Future home of FreshFinPoke. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.

Future home of FreshFinPoke. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.


Sure, Milwaukee has a wide variety of dining spots, but what about a Poke restaurant? After all, don’t all the those running around looking for Poke spotting need to eat somewhere?

With that in mind, more or less, Milwaukeean Nate Arkush, 34, has leased 1,200 square feet of space at 1806 E. North Ave., on the corner of North and Oakland (where the old Pizza Man was long located) from Milwaukee developer Robert Joseph. Arkush has several years experience managing high-end restaurants in Chicago. Corrinne Hess of the Biz Times has the story:

Arkush is planning to open FreshFin Poke, (po-kay) restaurant in the space, which will feature signature bowls, ranging in price from $8 to $13 with the choice of tuna, salmon, shrimp, vegetables or tofu plus the option of more than 20 add-in ingredients and sauces.

FreshFin will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and until midnight on Friday and Saturday…

Arkush, who has a culinary degree from Austin Community College, will also design the menu and serve as head chef.

Arkush, who also holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality administration and management and a MBA from DePaul University, has spent the last 10 years in management roles with Starwood Hotels & Resorts and managed Shula’s Steak House at the Sheraton Grand hotel in Chicago.

He and his wife moved to Milwaukee about a year ago after she was offered a job as a physician with a local health care system.

Arkush… decided on the concept after touring about a dozen poke restaurants on the West Coast and falling in love with the idea.

“It’s really a simple concept of healthy, clean eating that we are really excited about,” Arkush said. “If people are looking for something healthy, tasty, affordable and quick, this is a great option.”

Mangos Cafe East

Van Buren’s Whiskey Bar (1682 N. Van Buren St.) is in its final week of operation, as Mangos Cafe East, a tropical Caribbean-themed bar and restaurant, continues to transform the building. The new location will expand the Mangos brand by adding a bar and restaurant to focus on the food and beverage program, according to Greg Kieckbusch, who is a business partner in the deal. Mangos Cafe East is expected to open by the end of September. Lori Fredrich of OnMilwaukee details the changes:

The concept, which will incorporate elements of Floridian, Caribbean and Dominican fare along with a tiki theme, will be a second location for Mangos, the nightclub and tiki bar restaurant concept located at 721 S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr.

“The taco concept has really taken off,” notes Kieckbusch, who notes that Mangos has been selling out of its popular fare at festivals all summer, including Taco Fest and the East Side’s popular Brady Street Festival.

The remodel will update the space to include tiki-style elements, including thatching around the bar, as well as a color scheme that incorporates turquoise, brown and mustard hues. Although the central bar will remain, the kitchen space has been walled in and updated, and new seating will include high top tables, as well as new booths in the rear of the restaurant.

The menu will incorporate familiar Mangos items, including Dominican empanadas, guacamole and queso blanco along with a large taco selection including avocado steak, ancho chipotle chicken, fried shrimp, blackened tilapia, Asian and Hawaiian pork, and a number of new additions. Mangos Cafe East will also serve their popular wings, served up with a choice of sauces including pineapple, Hawaiian BBQ, garlic parmesan, Bacon BBQ, mild buffalo, Jack Daniels BBQ, mango habanero, red hot, spicy BBQ and diablo sauce.

Michai’s Quiet Storm Jazz Lounge

A new jazz lounge named Michai’s Quiet Storm Jazz Lounge is hoping to open in Walker’s Point soon. Kimberly Turner-Vergara has applied for a license to open the lounge at 161 S. 1st. The location is the former home of Rumor Upbeat Lounge. Molly Snyder, who first reported the story for OMC, adds this:

If granted, Michai’s will join the longstanding Caroline’s Jazz Club and Gibraltar, which musician Evan Christian plans to open this fall.

Rumor closed in early 2016 after opening in the summer of 2012.

Higbee’s (District on Water)

A new bar is coming to 628 N. Water St. soon. The location was formerly the home of Ultra Lounge and other bars throughout the years. Snyder adds this:

According to a building permit, it appears Pat James will soon take a crack at the 628 N. Water St. space that formerly housed Ultra Lounge, JC’s Pub & Grill, Club Bari, Edgar’s Calypso, Swank and more.

Little information is known at this point, but the new venture will be called (district).

Upgrades at StoneFire Pizza

As StoneFire Pizza celebrates its tenth year anniversary at 5320 S. Moorland Rd. in New Berlin, customers have a few reasons to celebrate, too. Carl Tomich took over the business about five years ago and has transformed the space. In addition to the new bar, candy store, and Ninja Warrior Course, StoneFire offers rock climbing, bumper cars, mini bowling and a variety of arcade games. The family friendly restaurant is encouraging customers to stop by for some anniversary sales. Snyder adds more details:

The Discovery area features a water and train table, building blocks and a climbing area for younger guests. The sports-themed dining area is for grown-ups and older children, with a full bar and more ambient lighting. There are also numerous televisions that will screen Packers games and other sporting events.

StoneFire has, not surprisingly, one of the largest stone-fired pizza ovens in the state. The medium-crust pizza – available veggie or meaty or more adventuresome options like Hawaiian – is the strongest menu item on the buffet, which also includes a large salad bar, pasta bar, taco bar, chicken wings or nuggets, soups and chili, macaroni and cheese and a build-your-own sundae station with frozen “slushie” drinks and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Now Closing: Bosley on Brady

As of Tuesday, Sept. 6, the Key West-themed restaurant, best known for seafood and steak, will close. Plans for remodeling the interior and bringing in a new theme to the restaurant are underway. Ann Christenson of Milwaukee Magazine has more details:

Key West-themed seafood/steak restaurant Bosley on Brady (815 E. Brady St.) is closed, effective Tuesday, Sept. 6. In May, founder Michele Green sold Bosley, known for its weekday happy hour, after 11 years. A note on the restaurant’s front door indicated that it will “reopen in a few months, as we remodel.” A new concept is already reportedly in the works.

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