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Centro Cafe Opens Adjoining Bar

Plus: Maurer's opens downtown and financial nightmare for Sweet Rings doughnut shop.

By - May 23rd, 2019 04:56 pm
Cooking up something great at Centro Cafe. Photo by Emily Litjens.

Cooking up something great at Centro Cafe. Photo by Emily Litjens.

Bar Centro, located at 804 E. Center St. in Riverwest, officially opened on May 22nd. The bar is adjacent to Centro Cafe (808 E. Center St.) and operated by the same proprietors, Peg Karpfinger and Patrick Moore.

Bar Centro will focus on “wine, beer, cocktails, small bites and dessert.” OnMilwaukee’s Lori Fredrich details some of the offerings:

Bar Centro will be operated by Centro manager Michelle Jones with the help of wine director Diane Reynolds, who has curated a wine list that includes not only Italian selections like Prosecco and sparkling Lambrusco, but also California Pinot Noir and Muscat, and Grenache and Chenin Blanc from France.

Cocktails ($10 each) will include selections like the centro rye manhattan and sangria, along with selections like the Smoke & Seed featuring mezcal, montenegro, sfumato, pomegranate and orange juices, and cardamom sage simple syrup. A selection of dessert cocktails like espresso fernet, spirited gelato or tawny port will also be available ($6-11).

Any of the above can be enjoyed with Bar Centro’s menu of snacks including cheese and charcuterie ($14/$19), spiced nuts ($6), house marinated olives ($6) and slightly heartier options like vegan kale and white bean soup served with bread ($8). Desserts will include selections like gelato and sorbetto, almond cake and a variety of housemade options.

Along with bottled and canned beer and ciders, Bar Centro will offer a variety of the “Italian-style bitter liqueurs” known as amari. The bar will also serve French press coffee, espresso, tea, specialty sodas and Topo Chico.

Happy hour will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Happy hour specials will include $3 Sheeps selections, $7 cocktails and half-off wine and snacks. The bar will also be available for small weddings, rehearsal dinners, parties and other small events.

Bar Centro is open 4 p.m. to close Wednesday to Saturday.

Maurer’s Urban Market Opens Downtown

A new grocery store, called Maurer’s Urban Market, has opened on the ground floor of Northwestern Mutual‘s 7SEVENTY7 apartment building (777 N. Van Buren St.). The store is owned by Maurer’s Foods LLC, which also runs stores in Wisconsin Dells, Janesville and Madison. Maurer’s Urban Market will be similar to the Fresh Madison Market located near the UW-Madison campus.

Urban Milwaukee’s Jeramey Jannene offers more:

The 10,500-square-foot store has a mix of offerings, including a scratch-made deli, fresh produce, beer and wine and a host of grocery store staples including cereal, milk and eggs. A Stone Creek Coffee cafe is also located at the store’s entrance.

Store owner Jeff Maurer told Urban Milwaukee in September 2018 that he isn’t intending to compete with the larger downtown stores, including Metro Market and Fresh Thyme, by, for instance, having a wide variety of cereal brands on the shelves. Maurer’s Foods’ target audience is “that day or the next day” shoppers. “Hopefully we will see those customers frequently throughout the week,” Maurer said.

Maurer’s Urban Market is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Sweet Rings Still Hopes to Open in Bay View

2895-2899 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

2895-2899 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

It’s been over a year since Bobby and Amanda Ring first announced their plans to open a doughnut shop at 2899 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Now, the couple have taken to Facebook to provide more information on their travails trying to open the Bay View shop, to be called Sweet Rings, if and when it opens.

According to a post from May 20 by the couple, they hired Ken and Vance Grabske of KMG Mechanical to renovate the space but got nothing for their money. As Urban Milwaukee reports, the post said this:

“I am so sorry to everyone who has been waiting for us to open. As you all know I have hit a few problems but I now need to share what has been going on,” the post reads. “In the very beginning we paid a set of contractors thousands of dollars to do work on the building. These guys took my money and never came back to do any real work. I had nothing but good faith in these guys and listened to promise after promise…”

According to the Wisconsin Circuit Court records, KMG Mechanical appeared as the garnishee in a 2014 civil case brought against Ken Grabske by Santander Consumer USA Inc. Grabske was ordered to pay $19,289.63 while KMG Mechanical was ordereded to pay $19,761. 45. In a 2018 civil case, KMG Mechanical appeared as the garnishee where Vance Grabske was the debtor and Credit Acceptance Corporation was the creditor. In that case, KMG Mechanical was ordered to pay $14,560.45.

Both Ken and Vance Grabske have been involved in a number of civil and small claims cases in both Walworth and Milwaukee counties. Vance Grabske has been the defendant in seven civil and small claims cases since 2007. Grabske also has two cases open in Waukesha county, but it is unknown if these are civil or small claims. Ken Grabske has been the defendant in over 20 cases since 1999.

The Rings have not released any more details of their plans outside of the Facebook post, which says they are still trying to open “in some capacity.”

Milwaukee Brewing Co. Names New CEO

In April, Milwaukee Brewing Company announced that founder Jim McCabe would be stepping down as CEO, and would instead be more involved in marketing, product development and engineering. Now, the company has named David Hock as the new president and CEO. Hock currently serves as the Vice President of Beechwood Sales & Service, Milwaukee Brewing Company’s distributor. Hock will take over his new position on June 1st.

Jeramey Jannene reports on the transition:

“I have known Dave since my first meeting at Beechwood eight years ago,” said Milwaukee Brewing chairman Jim Hughes in a statement. “He is a talented executive that knows all aspects of the craft beer business and the markets that we play in. This is a significant hire and inflection point for our brewery.”

Hock has worked at Beechwood in Milwaukee since 1988, having worked in beer distribution in various roles before that. He was named vice president of sales and marketing at Beechwood in 1991…

Hock sees lots of potential. “The new brewery equipment and packaging technology will take the quality of beer to the next level,” said Hock in a statement.

Urban Milwaukee reported on the company’s CEO search on April 18th. “This hiring is the next step in our Company’s strategic plan to achieve long-term success and growth,” said a company representative in April.

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