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A New Zealand Food Truck?

Finally, some Vegemite on toast. Plus: two new East Side restaurants.

By - May 19th, 2017 05:58 pm
Flag of New Zealand. Image is in the Public Domain.

Flag of New Zealand. Image is in the Public Domain.

Milwaukee native Rachel Hawken and her New Zealand-born husband will bring their passion for all things New Zealand to Cream City with their food truck, Drift, set to debut in late May. Its Kiwi-land specialties will include savory pies, sausage rolls, and, of course, Vegemite on toast. reporter Lori Fredrich offered more details:

“We really want to provide an authentic down-under experience,” says Hawken as she describes the savory pies, which are made with a dough that’s similar to puff pastry. “There’s nothing like them here. They’re delicious and hearty, and just so good.”

Flavors for the pies, which will be sourced through a collaboration with New Zealand bakers from Down-Under Bakery pies, will include mince (ground beef) & cheese, steak and cheese, chicken and vegetables, Thai chicken and curried vegetable. Each will cost $6-8…

Sweets served on the truck…will include Anzac biscuits, cookies with a relative similarity to American oatmeal cookies; Afghan biscuits, crunchy chocolate biscuit with chocolate ganache and a walnut garnish; and Caramel Sand.

Drift will also have a full espresso bar featuring coffee from Sacramento-based Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters. You can follow Drift, and track their location on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Two New East Side Restaurants

Two new restaurants — a gastropub and a Ramen and Sushi restaurant –will be opening on Murray Avenue this summer, as OMC’s Molly Snyder reports.

The gastropub will be called Izzy Hops Swig and Nosh, whose owner Michael Vitucci expects to open its doors in August.

Chef Tyler Cutsforth spoke to Snyder and said the pub’s menu will be on the “healthier side of pub food,” and balance a cozy setting with a spot to watch your favorite sports teams. Vitucci will also partner with Divino’s Wine and Dine to further develop the gastropub menu.

The second restaurant, to be called Kawa Ramen and Sushi, will open this summer at 2321 N. Murray Ave., in the space formerly occupied by The Winchester. Owner Linjin Xiao, who also owns Kawa Japanese Restaurant in Whitefish Bay, says he is working with Chef Lu from the Yamato Noodle School in Tokyo to renovate and create a menu featuring both traditional and contemporary Japanese meals. Linjin told Snyder “Our plan is to use the freshest and highest quality ingredients.”

Thai-inspired Ice Cream

So how unique is this? Fro Zone, the first rolled ice cream shop in the Milwaukee area, also has a Thai accent. Owners Mike Kaid and Ahsan Sikander Gondal will bring this trendy treat said to be sweeping the country to the former home of Pepi’s Place Pizzeria on Brady Street. It’s scheduled to open June 1.

According to OMC’s Matt Mueller, rolled ice cream is a tasty and simple concept: thin strips of ice cream that are rolled into spirals and served in a bowl covered with all the toppings your heart could desire. Fro Zone will be selling the sweet treat for $6.95.

Mac and Cheese in Menomonee Falls

Southeastern Wisconsin’s first modern mac-and-cheese restaurant is set to open in Menomonee Falls late this summer. It has a great name: Grate.

Grate’s concept, as Fredrich reports, is locally sourced and hand-crafted macaroni and cheese dishes. Milwaukee-based Roaring Fork Restaurant Group, which runs 54 Qdoba Mexican restaurants, will run Grate and is partnering with the award-winning Master Cheesemakers at Door County’s Renard’s Cheese and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

That’s because it’s all about the cheese. “The cheese is really the hero in our concept,” Abby Hansen, director of marketing at Roaring Fork, told OMC.

But it’s apparently also about entertainment. Customers can watch that mac and cheese dish bubble away in the the restaurant’s Woodstone oven.

Grate will be located in the new Whitestone Station mixed-use development just off Highways 41/45 at N92W16125 Falls Parkway.

Café Hollander in Brookfield

The Lowlands Group announced their newest and fifth Café Hollander location will open May 30 at The Corners in Brookfield. The café, famed for its beer selection, will offer 38 beers on tap including a nitro line and many Belgian brews. The newest location will feature many of the café’s signature elements like multi-floor seating, a spacious rooftop deck and lounge, patio seating and walls that roll up to open the restaurant to the summer sunshine.

“We’re thrilled with how the space turned out and we can’t wait to add to the energy at The Corners,” stated director of brand and marketing at Lowlands Group, Dan Herwig. “With every new location we open, we’re able to tell a bit more of a story with the design of our restaurants, including the use of reclaimed materials, old Belgian bier signs, photos from our trips to Europe and other elements. We hope to wow our guests when they walk through the door.”

The new Hollander’s soft opening charity benefit is on May 19-21, with 100 percent of the food sales going to various charities.

Pfister Hotel’s New Pastry Chef

Travis Martinez. Photo courtesy of Marcus Hotels & Resorts.

Travis Martinez. Photo courtesy of Marcus Hotels & Resorts.

The Pfister Hotel announced the appointment of Travis Martinez as the new executive pastry chef. Martinez will oversee the production of all confections and chocolates within the venerable downtown hotel.

Martinez has worked as a pastry chef or baker at an impressive array of luxury businesses throughout the U.S. including Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Table Mountain Casino in California, and Potawatomi Resort and Casino right here in Milwaukee. He was also a finalist on The Food Network’s “Cake Wars: Christmas.”

Now Closing: Thai Lotus

Thai Lotus Restaurant announced they will close their location on National Avenue on Sunday, May 20, after 12 years operation there.

Owner Raphael Sivongsa says it was a difficult decision to close the restaurant, but hopes to find a smaller location in Silver City to reopen and focus on carry out and delivery.

Meanwhile, the other Thai Lotus Restaurant at 1000 E. Locust St. in the Riverwest neighborhood is still going strong.

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