New Arts Cafe in Walker’s Point
Plus: Eulogy for Joe Bartolotta. And Laughing Taco closes at Crossroads Collective.
Arts @ Large, a non-profit providing arts education to Milwaukee Public Schools‘ students, is bringing a new community center and cafe to 501 W. Washington Ave. The cafe is expected to open on May 28 on the building’s first floor.
Its full menu is still being finalized, but so far includes all-day breakfast items such as flatbread, seasonal quiche, a fruit parfait and baked french toast, and light lunch options like salads, sandwiches and soups, said Erin Forsythe, café and culinary arts manager at Arts @ Large.
It will serve a selection of Anodyne Coffee beverages and smoothies, as well as bakery items from Batches in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward and Recess Cheesecake ice cream, a flavor that students recently created with Purple Door Ice Cream in Walker’s Point.
Operating with an almost-full kitchen (the only piece of equipment missing is a hood system), most of the food served will be scratch-made, Forsythe said…
It will employ four student interns who will work alongside the cafe’s staff on a weekly basis for a full year, learning skills like cooking, food preparation, management and customer service, Forsythe said.
The cafe will be open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The MECCA Sports Bar Offers Theater Seats
The place has been designed Matt Rinka and Steve Morales. The MECCA showcases nine flat screens along with a “38 foot centerpiece TV.” Urban Milwaukee’s Graham Kilmer took part in the media day, providing this take:
Looking down at that main floor are three very interesting seating options. That’s right, seating options. The first is a row of seats on the mezzanine, halfway up to the second floor, dead center with the main screen. Rinka said these the are “catbird” seats in the house. Just above those seats are the a row of booths called the sky boxes. They are large roomy booths that, once again, provide a great view of that insane screen above the bar. And on the east end of the bar, is a row of VIP looking booths called the theater seats. They are basically the sports bar version of opera box seats, but without any bassos or sopranos singing.
The food at The MECCA, brought to you by Executive Chef Matt Kerley, includes many bar-food staples, but also some more “elevated” (there’s that word again) options, like a veggie stir fry, shrimp tacos and Alaskan Salmon. But, fear not beet bashing Milwaukeeans, they have classics accompaniments like cheese curds and burgers, though still “elevated,” we’re told. They even have an intense looking nacho offering called the Cream City Chimney Stack. Finally, if you’re wondering what the Bucks president likes to eat best at The MECCA, he is a chicken strip and shrimp kinda guy. A very elevated choice.
Funeral Celebration For Joe Bartolotta
Friends, family and the public celebrated the life and career of local restaurateur Joe Bartolotta at a service held on April 27 at the Riverside Theater. Bartolotta, who co-owned the Bartolotta Restaurants with his brother Paul, died in his sleep on the night of April 22. He was 60 years old.
Attendees of the funeral were asked to wear colorful attire instead of black in order to reflect Bartolotta’s “bright disposition.” The service was officiated by Fr. Timothy L. Kitzke of Old St. Mary’s Parish.
The first eulogy of the service came from Bartolotta’s daughter, Anna, who was joined on stage by her sister, Mary. “Let’s do something everyday to make him proud and to make him smile,” Anna Bartolotta said. “Let us please never extinguish that eternal kid flame that I know lives within all of us, in his honor.”
Paul Bartolotta also spoke in remembrance of his brother, joined by their sisters Felicia and Maria. Bartolotta’s wife, Jennifer, along with his brother-in-law Jamie Shiparski and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett also gave eulogies, amongst others.
Photos along with a full-service video are available to view on the Bartolotta Restaurants’ website.
New Jamaican Restaurant for Harambee
Restaurateur Dwight Jackson has plans to open a new restaurant at 2543-47 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. The restaurant will be called Pepper Pot, and will feature “unique Jamaican traditions and customs such as island-style brunches, Jamaican festivals and holiday celebrations,” according to Matt Haessly, a real estate specialist with the Department of City Development.
Jackson went before the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee on April 30, where his $1 purchase of the city-owned building was approved. Jackson will renovate the building, and the final product will include two updated apartments, a space for Jackson’s catering business as well as space for the new restaurant. In total, Jackson plans to spend $900,000.
He started cooking out of his house in 2004, which served as an informal restaurant. He told the committee he quickly found he was making more cooking his signature jerk chicken rolls one day a week than he was at his printing job in West Bend. Customers included council members Khalif Rainey and Milele A. Coggs, who both spoke of the good food and long lines Jackson was drawing during the land sale hearing.
That success led to opening a catering kitchen and carryout counter at 4120 W. Capitol Dr. in 2014. Jackson said he will maintain that location in Rainey’s district, while opening the new location in Coggs’ district.
According to Jannene, Jackson is seeking a liquor license for the restaurant. Jackson plans to have the restaurant open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
New Mr. D’s Pizza Relocates. Again
A new location for Mr. D’s Pizza may be in the works for 2344 S. 27th St., but an exact opening date is unknown. While “Coming Soon” signs have been posted on the exterior of the building, no license applications have been filed with the city. The owners were also unreachable for comment.
Even before this new location, Mr. D’s was no stranger to the Milwaukee area. Urban Milwaukee has this take on the restaurant’s previous locations:
Commentors on the Facebook page rave about the restaurant’s food, however the eatery seems to elude its customers with frequent moves. Over the years, Mr. D’s has had multiple names and addresses across the city and its suburbs. Past locations include Mr. D’s Pizza at 2038 W. Greenfield Ave., Mr. D’s II at 11078 W. National Ave. (now Lucky Bakery & BBQ), and Mr. D’s The Original at 2423 S. 6th St.
In a post from 2015, Mr. D’s announced a move to McCarty Park Sports Pub and Grill (6828 W. Oklahoma. Ave.) However, Donald Raffaelli, who co-owns the pub and grill with Sean Raffaelli, says that the Mr. D’s owner has not been involved with the business for a few years.
American Place for Northwest Side
A new establishment called Broken Egg Family Restaurant is slated to open at 10843 W. Park Place in six to eight weeks, according to proprietor Bekim Kadriu. The space, previously a Ruby Tuesday, is located near Good Hope Rd. and N. 107th St. Kadriu hopes that the location, amidst offices and “industrial areas,” will attract customers for breakfast and lunch.
The menu will feature mostly American fare, he said, including omelets, pancakes, French toast and country fried steak. Kadriu said he also plans to serve sandwiches, burgers and salads.
Broken Egg is likely to employ between 15 and 20 people.
Kadriu said the restaurant would offer customers a warm atmosphere where they can get a good breakfast.
“We’re going to try to make people feel they’re at home and welcome,” he said.
Now Closing: Laughing Taco at Crossroads Collective
The Laughing Taco stall at Crossroads Collective (2238 N. Farwell Ave.) will have its final day of business on Sunday, May 5.
The business made the announcement on Instagram on May 1. “We have seen this project from its inception and consider it a great addition to the Milwaukee food scene; however, The Laughing Taco is a unique business with unique needs,” the post reads. “We feel honored to have been a part of Crossroads Collective from the beginning; we are grateful to the restaurants in it, that work as a great team to build a new exciting place on the East Side.”
The post went on to thank Crossroads Collective developer Tim Gokhman, along with the other vendors at the food hall. Laughing Taco’s workers from the food hall will remain employed with the company. New menu items, hours and special events for its location at 1033 S. 1st St. will be announced in the near future. The post also mentioned that Laughing Taco will continue its partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum.
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