Emily Thome
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East Side Gets Monster Pizza

Plus: New Blue Water Grill in Bronzeville. And Buckley's will expand.

By - Jan 13th, 2017 03:14 pm
Monster Pizza Comes To East Side. Photo from Facebook.

Monster Pizza Comes To East Side. Photo from Facebook.

Wisconsinites will be glued to their television sets on Sunday to watch the Packers playoff game against the Cowboys, and for the first time in 42 years, owners and employees of The Packing House will do likewise. The Layton Ave. restaurant hasn’t closed its doors in almost half a century, but Packer pride (and the popularity of sports bars) have led the owners to take the day off. Sheldon Dutes at WISN 12 has the story:

“Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day we never close. We are open everyday of the year,” Owner Chris Wiken said.

Wiken can’t recall a time he or his parents ever closed the restaurant during its 42 years, but there are now signs posted at the entrance alerting customers to Sunday’s closure.

“Where [the Packers are] running the tables for the last seven games, our customers are running from our tables and going to watch the Packers at sports bars and enjoying family at home,” Wiken said.

Wiken also said closing this Sunday is a smart businesses decision.

“We’re all Packer fans so we want to enjoy the game, too,” he added.

Glorioso’s Will Expand

The longtime family-owned Italian grocery store located on Brady St. is growing, making use of the space that was originally home to the Glorioso Bros. Market. Urban Milwaukee’s Michael Horne outlines the expansion plans that Glorioso has traced out for the new space, which is expected to be finished by the end of 2017:

  • A hands-on cooking schoo
  • A demonstration kitchen
  • A large commercial kitchen
  • Expanded catering facilities
  • “Anything that brings food and drink together.”

Glorioso emphasized that the space “will not be a restaurant. We will not be having daily hours.” However, he expects to apply for a Class “B” Tavern License so that he can serve beverages on-site.

Buckley’s Getting Bigger, Too

The downtown restaurant and bar is beginning a large expansion project following an application submitted to the Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission. The application, which will be reviewed on Monday, will lead to more room for seating at Buckley’s, as well as enlarged space for additional operations. Milwaukee Business Journal’s Melanie Lawder breaks down the build up:

According to the application filed with the city, the 143-year-old building that Buckley’s occupies would be expanded to the north, encompassing the existing driveway at 805 N. Cass St. and the residential building at 807-809 N. Cass St. Once completed, the enlarged restaurant would have two bars, an expanded kitchen and a bakery, as well as new dining facilities. Buckley’s would also feature a new second-floor balcony area that would be used as extra dining space and for events. The new addition would retain its historic nature, the application said.

…In April 2015, Mike Buckley divulged the details of his vision for an expanded Buckley’s to the Milwaukee Business Journal and said such a project would roughly triple the restaurant’s size, bringing the seating total from 45 to 120, not including the patio.

Monster Pizza Comes To East Side

A new pizza place has opened up on Oakland Ave. and is serving up to 28 inches of deliciousness. Monster Pizza MKE, which replaced SOLO Pizza, offers a wide variety of pizza toppings and combinations and does so on a large scale. Lori Fredrich of OnMilwaukee.com has the scoop, er, slice:

The restaurant specializes in behemoth pizzas which measure 28 inches in diameter. Pies are available whole ($32) or by the slice for $3-4 (slices measure in at 12 inches from crust to tip) in 18 specialty combinations including chicken n’ waffle, barbecue port tot and Sriracha chicken bacon ranch… Customers can also build their own pizzas with a choice of over 40 different toppings.

Monster Pizza also offers salads (both single and monster sized), monster sticks, and monster cookies and brownies for dessert. And yeah, you can also order smaller sized pizzas (12″ and 16″) …

Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. through bar time.

New Blue Water Grill In Bronzeville

MATC culinary school grad James Garner has announced plans to open up a restaurant on Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., in the area where he grew up. Garner wants to bring an African American identity to the Bronzeville food scene, featuring locally-grown ingredients that can be enjoyed with some live music and other amenities at a reasonable price. Garner eventually hopes to add a stage and feature live (jazz and R&B) music and a second-floor cigar bar serving high quality bourbon, scotch and cognac. Fredrich dishes more details:

…the restaurant will offer modern takes on classic dishes – including steak, housemade pastas and seafood – fused with a variety of influences including cajun, creole and flourishes of the Pacific Rim. Ingredients will focus on locally grown produce, sustainably raised seafood and high quality grassfed beef.

“The days of old soul food dining are gone,” (Garner) says. “But my dishes will incorporate elements that people will recognize. One of my dishes will be sole stuffed with shrimp, crab and lobster. And the sole filet will be wrapped in a collard green. Another dish might be grilled mahi mahi with black-eyed pea salsa.”

…Garner is currently in the process of purchasing the building from the city through the Request for Proposals (RFP) process. Licensure hearings at the Milwaukee Common Council for the new venue are scheduled for the end of January. From there, Garner says, he’ll proceed with plans to improve both the facade of the building as well as remodeling of the interior.

“What’s been done wrong in Milwaukee in the redevelopment of Bronzeville and Downtown has been that we’re trying to reinvent the wheel,” Garner notes. “We’re trying to bring things we’ve seen in L.A. or Atlanta or other places and make them work. But, you need to know the Milwaukee market. And you need to serve them in an inclusive, rather than an exclusive, way.”

Once open, Rockford’s Blue Water Grill is expected to be open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner and Sundays for brunch service.

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