Now Serving

New Poke, New Small Plates Places

East Side, Third Ward, Walker's Point, Brady Street all get new restaurants.

By - Aug 18th, 2017 01:20 pm
Von Trier. Photo by Joey Grihalva.

Von Trier. Photo by Joey Grihalva.

Chicago’s Aloha Poke Co. is opening two Milwaukee locations by the end of 2017. One will be at 3116 N. Downer Ave. and the other will be at a location to be determined in the Third Ward.

According to the Journal Sentinel’s Carol Deptolla, Aloha Poke Co. is quickly expanding, having opened in Chicago in March 2016 with plans to expand to Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Its website shows it now has six locations in Chicagoland, four in California and one in Denver. So Milwaukee is in the vanguard.

Deptolla offered these details:

Customers can design their own poke bowls by picking toppings and sauces to go with their choice of white or brown rice or greens and tuna, salmon or tofu. Prices on the website are $7.50 for 8 ounces, $9.50 for 16 ounces and $14.50 for 24 ounces.

Poke, similar to deconstructed sushi, originated in Hawaii and has taken the rest of the nation by storm. Aloha Poke Co. joins other poke restaurants in the area like FreshFin Poke (see story on it) and Ono Kine Grindz.

Snifters Tapas and Spirits

Now that’s quite a name. The grand opening of Snifters Tapas and Spirts, Wisconsin’s only Latin and Soul Food-fusion restaurant, located at 606 S. 5th St. in Walker’s Point, will take place August 24 through August 27.

According to a press release, Snifters will have four days of events to celebrate their opening:

THURSDAY: Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (5 p.m. – 7 p.m.). The ceremony will feature a champagne toast, food and drink tastings and networking. Commentary will be from Alderman Jose Perez, Milwaukee’s 12th District, Ossie Kendrix, CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin and Walker’s Point Association President Kevin Wondra.

FRIDAY: Friday After Work (3 p.m. – 11 p.m.) and the Mixdown (9 p.m. – 2 a.m.) featuring an extended happy hour and music session in the Snifters lower-level Wine Cellar.

SATURDAY: The After Smoke (7 p.m. – 2 a.m.). Snifters will host the official Brew City Cigar Festival 2017 Afterparty. Guests are welcome to purchase a wide selection of cigars on site and enjoy them in the outdoor Barrio Bar.

SUNDAY: Sunday Funday on the Barrio Bar (1 p.m. – 7 p.m.). An afternoon party on Snifters spacious outdoor bar and lounge space featuring specialty Tattersal Distilling Cocktails.

Snifters’ menu will offer an array of small plates inspired by both Soul Food and Latin cuisine. Says head chef Luis Garcia:

Both Latin and Soul Foods cuisines are colorful and full of flavor. We’ve focused on combining the two into something completely unique. Our cultural fusion is in part an homage to the special make-up of Walker’s Point, a diverse and creative part of Milwaukee that we think is the perfect home for Snifters.

Snifters Tapas and Spirits will be open Wednesday 3 p.m. to midnight, Thursday and Friday 3 p.m. to bar time, Saturday 1 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., with plans to introduce a Sunday brunch in addition to weekly lunch hours.

The Diplomat Opens

The Diplomat, located at 815 E. Brady St., opened on Tuesday this week. The restaurant offers diners an intimate dining experience with affordable small plates of American regional cuisine.

In a press release, Owner and Chef Dane Baldwin explained:

For me, it was important to be welcoming in terms of price and atmosphere… The small plate format at The Diplomat is my opportunity to craft an approachable menu that surprises, delights and excites my guests.

Baldwin also plans to change the menu frequently to reflect the changing seasons.

The press release offered details on the menu:

Trout – A fish Wisconsinites appreciate is served with Romesco sauce, dilly beans (a treat his wife, Anna, introduced him to) and radish.

Meat & Potatoes – As a young cook, Baldwin prepared many variations of this entrée. His version features New York strip with potato puree and cured egg yolk.

Beef Short Rib – Accompanied by fondant potatoes (an item not commonly seen on area menus), pickled mustard, broccoli and Cumberland sauce.

The Diplomat Fries – A simple, straight forward dish. The fries are cooked three times, producing a crunch exterior and a pillowy interior, and are served with a garlic mayonnaise as a dipping sauce.

The Diplomat will also have a bar menu stacked with signature cocktails, frequently rotating tap beer, and wine available by the bottle or glass.

The Diplomat will seat 70 diners in the dining room and 30 patrons at the bar. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Points View Boite

Points View Boite (pronounced “bwot” for non-French speakers), opened at 1619 S. 1st St. on August 10.

According to On Milwaukee’s Molly Snyder, Points View co-owner Marcos Ramos-Garcia chose “Boite” because in the French language it is used to describe a lounge or small restaurant.

Ramos-Garcia was largely inspired by French culture he encountered in his travels as a professional dancer. The lounge also incorporates Latin culture and features a high-end cocktail menu featuring drinks from around the world like the French 75, made with champagne and either gin or cognac.

Snyder offers details on the atmosphere:

The space, formerly Mezcal Lounge and The Monkey Bar, underwent a massive transition. The bar, although in the same spot as before, was torn down and completely rebuilt – from the plumbing to the bar top. New paint, tiling and the addition of six windows in a backroom chill area offering hookah and bottle service make the space feel very clean, classy and comfortable.

The new lounge will be open daily from 6 p.m. to bar time.

1840 Brewing Company

Brew City welcomed another brewery this week with the opening of 1840 Brewing Company at 342 E. Ward St. in Bay View.

Owner and brewmaster Kyle Vetter hopes to create beers unlike any in town. According to‘s Lori Fredrich, Vetter formerly worked for Colorado’s Aspen Brewing Company and co-owns The Crafter Space.

Vetter learned about blending and barrel aging while he helped develop the barrel aging program at Aspen Brewing, and also learned a lot about French and Belgian style brews. He told Fredrich:

We look back in time to when beer was being brewed on the farm, it was about what was available, and it was very different from place to place and season to season. We really wanted the flexibility to play around and create beers that were different from anything currently on the market. 

In a twist from other are breweries, 1840 will pay other breweries to create wort, or unfermented beer, with Vetter’s recipes. Once the wort is created, it returns to 1840 to be blended and aged.

Vetter is working on a collaboration with Like Minds Brewing, and has worked with Third Space, Explorium and Company Brewing companies.

The taproom will hold 80 people and have seating for 30, but will only be open on the second Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with beer available by the glass or bottle.

After funds are raised through the brewery’s VIP program, Vetter hopes to have the taproom open once a week.

New Downtown Starbucks

The seventh Starbucks location downtown will open in the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons building at 720 E. Wisconsin Avenue.

The new location is currently hiring employees.

Now Closing, Reopening

An East Side mainstay, Von Trier, announced it will close at the end of the year for major renovations and a conversion into an upscale, classic cocktail lounge.

Snyder reports: 

Von Trier will remain open through the holiday season and showcase its popular Christmas Village one last time before hosting an online auction listing the bar’s collection of memorabilia, including authentic beer steins, one-of-a-kind wood carvings and the historic Colnik chandelier. 

Owners John and Cindy Sidoff announced the renovations after a whirlwind of changes in the bar scene on North Avenue. “This new evolution of the bar will better support the evolving clientele and businesses of the North Avenue district,” John Sidoff explained.

While some are excited for the change, others say North Avenue has claimed another victim among the closings of other bars on the street, like Hotch, Replay sports bar, G-Daddy’s BBC. There is even a petition with over 1,000 signatures to keep Von Trier as is, to avoid losing another reminder of Milwaukee’s German culture.

“North Avenue is definitely going through a transition. Luxury apartments and more amenities are bringing in a new population looking for new experiences,” East Side BID board member and business owner Mike Vitucci told OMC. That has meant more foot traffic and sales, he added, but it may push bars in the area to change, he seemed to imply.

John Sidoff says he has a deep connection to the East Side and hopes to re-invent Von Trier as an upscale cocktail lounge  with “a mid-century vibe.” So it’s back to the future on North Avenue.

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