Tandem Owner Giving Away Restaurant For Free
Plus: The Vanguard reopens. And Franklin Heights gets a new pizza place.
When the future of many Milwaukee restaurants seemed uncertain, The Tandem didn’t just stop — it pivoted to a format that allowed Chef Owner Caitlin Cullen to give away 115,000 meals to people in need. Now, she’s announced that she’ll be giving away her restaurant — for free — as well, citing that her mental and physical health would not do well if she were to continue. Journal Sentinel’s Carol Deptolla reports:
The Tandem, 1848 W. Fond du Lac Ave., was expected to reopen in August after serving solely as the base of operations for meal giveaways since March 2020.
“My mental health is too important. My favorite coping mechanism is a bottle of liquor,” Cullen said frankly. And the high level of stress in a place that includes a bar is “not a good long-term outlook,” she said. It echoes reports across the country of workers leaving the restaurant industry for reasons that include their well being.
But she wants the Tandem to go on without her.
“I want it to remain an inviting space for young people who are lost, and our neighbors in these past 18 months we have found,” Cullen said.
American Fusion Cafe to Take Over Former Elephant Cafe Space
Twisted Cafe, an American fusion restaurant, is currently being planned to replace former Thai restaurant Elephant Cafe in the space located at 1505 N. Farwell Ave. Elephant Cafe closed earlier this year and never reopened. While Twisted Cafe is an American fusion restaurant, it will still have some Thai items on the menu. Journal Sentinel’s Rachel Ryan reports:
The cafe … will feature menu items such as cheeseburger egg rolls, Korean-style corn dogs, coconut waffles stuffed with Thai pandan custard, and possibly bubble tea.
“I wanted to take street food or fair food and bring it to a cafe,” owner Melissa Latavong said. “So we don’t have to wait until the fair opens, or we don’t have to wait until the food truck pulls up.”
The idea is to take American food and put her own spin on it. Hence, the name “Twisted Cafe.”
“It could be, let’s say, spaghetti, but we’re going add a little bit of Thai ingredients into it and make it into our own kind of spaghetti,” she said.
The Vanguard Reopens for Indoor Dining
Milwaukee’s favorite wrestling-loving, specialty-sausage slinging restaurant has officially reopened for indoor dining. The Vanguard had remained closed to the public for 16 months, serving food and cocktail kits via carryout and a newly implemented delivery system. On-site service began again on August 4th. Milwaukee Record’s Tyler Maas reports:
Vanguard co-owner Chris Schulist tells Milwaukee Record the Bay View-based sausage bar will be open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day until further notice. Though the bar will be open until 2 a.m. daily, food will be served 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Sunday through Thursday, and from 5 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Schulist also tells us customers will be expected to mask up while in the restaurant.
In addition to the indoor dining availability, The Vanguard’s patio will also be open to customers. Those who don’t feel comfortable dining on-site at this time can still order carryout orders by phone by calling 414-539-3593. It’s been a long wait, but you can finally “BE SOMEBODY” and eat at Vanguard again. Yes!
New Pizza Joint Coming to Franklin Heights
Franklin Heights will soon be getting a new pizza spot at 2100 W. Hopkins St. Pizza House will be owned and operated by Issa Rabeh Hamed and Hazem Amro, who have worked in fast food and with pizza for the past four years. Urban Milwaukee’s Angeline Terry reports:
The menu for Pizza House includes pizzas, fried fish, chicken, cheeseburgers, Italian beef Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, ice cream, milkshakes and cake, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. The license application says the restaurant will provide delivery as well.
Both the name and the logo are similar to the chain pizza restaurant, Pizza Hut. The Pizza House logo on the restaurant’s Facebook page features red and yellow colors and a house above the font and a yellow dash below, similar to the 1999 logo from Pizza Hut (which has been streamlined a bit since then).
Pizza House will replace Haji’s Red Hot, another fast food restaurant that closed in 2020.
Book Bar Opening in Bronzeville
A book store and wine shop is opening at 1937-1939 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. It’s called Niche Book Bar. The owner, Cetonia Weston-Roy, previously ran a mobile book store under the same name. Urban Milwaukee’s Jeramey Jannene reports:
Her business will attempt to merge books with the community.
“I am a bookstore focused on serving black literature and red wine,” said Weston-Roy. “We would be a community space where families can come in for story time. They can get baked goods, coffee, tea and then in the evenings book clubs can come in.”
Weston-Roy has won multiple grants from LISC Milwaukee‘s Brew City Match program. She received Business Planning Track support as part of the first cohort in October 2019 and completed a business-planning course through the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation in fall 2019. In summer 2020 she was announced as a Space Track winner and later a Cash Track winner to fund startup costs.
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