Sophie Bolich

The Rise of Lush Gourmet Popcorn

Local company started in 2014, popcorn sold in several places, now will open Lush Popcorn and Lemonade in Riverwest.

By - Jul 19th, 2022 04:19 pm
Site of future Lush Gourmet Popcorn and Lemonade. Photo taken July 18, 2022 by Sophie Bolich

Site of future Lush Gourmet Popcorn and Lemonade. Photo taken July 18, 2022 by Sophie Bolich

A former Riverwest tavern will soon be home to a new establishment, but this one would have a whimsical twist.

Lush Gourmet Popcorn and Lemonade, which blends elements of a bar, restaurant and store, is planned for 920 E. Locust St. and could open as soon as September, according to a recently-filed liquor license application.

Marcia Taylor started the Lush Gourmet Popcorn brand in 2014 with her original flavor, white chocolate. Since then, the brand has expanded to offer nearly 20 rotating flavors, including a line of liquor-infused popcorn, which retails at several locations throughout the area, including AXE MKE, North South Club and Ray’s Wine and Spirits in Wauwatosa. Lush Gourmet Popcorn is also a vendor at Sherman Phoenix.

Now, Taylor aims to expand to a second location.

The forthcoming business would offer boozy lemonade and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages plus an array of snacks. The license application notes that it expects 25% of revenue to come from alcohol sales, 65% from food and 10% from clothing and souvenirs.

A menu attached to the license application lists most of Lush’s existing popcorn flavors, from Strawberries & Cream to Chili Lime Margarita to Vegan Maple Bourbon.

A wide variety of snacks including chips, salsa, jelly beans, cheese, sausage, pickles/olives, chocolate and nuts will be served, plus burgers, fish, fries and ice cream.

As for drinks, the proposed menu lists several flavors of lemonade including Blackberry Basil and Green Apple Cider, which can be ordered virgin or spiked, along with water, soda, tea, seltzer and beer.

The business would open in the former Klinger’s East, which closed in June 2022. The long-standing bar, open for nearly 50 years in the Riverwest neighborhood, was known for live music, billiards and a popular fish fry.

The building itself was built in 1906 and has been home to mostly taverns over the years. Taylor acquired the building for $575,000 in May.

At Lush Gourmet Popcorn and Lemonade, visitors can expect live music, DJs and dancing to accompany beverages and snacks. The establishment’s estimated capacity will be 140 guests.

Taylor did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Proposed hours would be Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The bar would be closed Sunday and Monday.

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