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More Changes For North Avenue Market

Plus: N/A bar opens on East Side and Ninja Steakhouse in Downtown, and Bridgewater adds brunch.

By - Feb 5th, 2023 02:04 pm
North Avenue Market, 5900 W. North Ave., photo taken Sept. 6, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

North Avenue Market, 5900 W. North Ave., photo taken Sept. 6, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

After five months in operation, North Avenue Market has announced plans to temporarily reduce its hours ahead of upcoming changes to the food and retail hall, 5900 W. North Ave. This period of transition will bring new vendors and transform existing community spaces with the intent to enhance the overall experience for guests.

“We strive to provide a great dining experience for each of you and have learned a lot in the last five months as we reflect on our operations and feedback from our customers,” said the owners in a social media post Wednesday. “These changes are a reflection of that commitment.”

The announcement comes after Urban Milwaukee reported on Jan. 27 that a series of vendors, at least one of which cited an undisclosed landlord disagreement, were exiting the market. The market’s founder, Chris Harris Morse, said the market was entering a “reset phase.”

More changes are now coming.

Starting Monday, Feb. 6, Taste of Java cafe will temporarily close for a rebrand, with plans to revamp and expand its breakfast, lunch and dinner options to better suit the food hall.

The market’s lower-level Garden Lounge will be transformed into a cozy gathering place and event center, featuring open conference lounge areas, enlarging the existing The Stable conference room and adding more games. The changes will enhance the market’s ability to offer events such as comedy shows, corporate events, private parties, youth engagement activities and more, according to the online post.

Mosler’s Vault, a speakeasy-style cocktail bar located in the Garden Lounge, will see aesthetic updates, but will stay open throughout the transition period.

Bittercube Bar, Dawg City and SAM’s Deli will continue to operate as usual.

Harris Morse told Urban Milwaukee in a January interview that he feels this time of year, when business is typically slower, is the ideal time to implement change.

“We’re going into a reset phase where we’re taking time to look back and say ‘hey, what’s going well, and what are some opportunities that we have to enhance what we’re able to bring to our neighborhood?'” he said.

Throughout the coming months, the food hall also plans to welcome new vendors who will fill vacancies left by S’Blendid Boba Tea, Fresh Farm Bowls and Arty’s Sweet Talk Cupcakes. The three vendors exited the food hall in January.

Those interested in operating a vendor stall at the market can learn more online.

Starting Monday, Feb. 6, the market’s adjusted hours will be Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

The market plans to return to normal hours in the spring, and will update social media with more details as they become available. Visit North Avenue Market on Facebook for updates.

The Counter Opens at Crossroads Collective

Grab a stool at The Counter, and you can sip a cocktail — or two or three — and freely drive home afterwards. That’s because the bar’s drinks, though complex, flavorful and intriguing, contain no alcohol.

The newest addition to Crossroads Collective is named both for its setup, an intimate, four-top banquette nestled within the food hall, 2238 N. Farwell Ave., as well as its mission: to counteract the prevailing belief that non-alcoholic cocktails are inferior to their alcoholic counterparts.

In creating the concept, owner Ryan Castelaz asked himself, “how do we make these drinks feel adult, not just like high-end juices?”

Castelaz, who also owns the experimental Discourse Coffee, found the answer in combining astringent, tannic and botanical ingredients “in ways that create a complex profile,” resulting in a flavorful beverage that doesn’t suffer from the omission of hard liquor.

Read the full article

Ninja Steakhouse Is Officially Open, See Inside

Tempura your enthusiasm — the long-awaited Ninja MKE Japanese Steakhouse is officially open for business.

The multi-story restaurant has been in progress since 2019 when owner  Li Chai Chen purchased the building at 770 N. Milwaukee St., which previously housed Catch 22.

The restaurant, which comprises three distinct concepts within a single building, was an ambitious undertaking from the start, and was further slowed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After three years, the East Town restaurant celebrated its grand opening on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Read the full article

Italian Restaurant and Bar For Oakland Avenue

A new bar and restaurant planned for the Upper East Side neighborhood will open with a built-in customer base — though future patrons may be more familiar with the owner’s paintwork than his pizzas.

Donnie Dries, of Dries Painting & Restoration, is venturing into the restaurant industry, with plans to open Dries Ristorante and Donnie’s Pub in the former Monster Pizza and Black Rose Irish Pub, 2856 N. Oakland Ave. The contiguous spaces total approximately 8,000 square feet.

Thomas Shea, a childhood friend of Dries, will act as chef for the upcoming restaurant, which will feature an Italian-focused menu of appetizers, pasta, sandwiches, salads, desserts and wood-fired pizzas.

Monster Pizza closed in November 2017, leaving most of its restaurant equipment behind in its departure, including two pizza ovens, said Dries.

Read the full article

Milwaukee’s Maker of Sought-After Knives

It’s been said that our workspace is a reflection of who we are. If that’s true, Nate Zimmerman is imaginative, multi-faceted and constantly-evolving. There’s a delicate balance of organized chaos — the longer you look, the more there is to discover.

And while it’s not immediately clear to the untrained eye — which may first take in the artwork, action figures, fortune cookies and antlers placed throughout his workshop — Zimmerman is a metalworker. More specifically, he’s the owner and creative force behind ZimKnives, a custom cutlery business.

Zimmerman’s handcrafted wares range from steak knife sets (such as those featured at fine-dining restaurant Ardent) to intricate, fantasy-inspired swords, to a hammer that could rival Thor’s Mjölnir.

The contents of his sprawling workshop, 150 E. Albert Pl., is soon to be packed away, as he prepares to relocate his business to 4404 W. North Ave.

Read the full article

Lakefront Brewery Begins Switch to Cans

Lakefront Brewery has begun the process of installing a canning line, with the goal to transition to cans only in 2023.

And though some purists insist on the superiority of bottled brews, the benefits of cans to the wallet and the planet are undeniable.

Canned beer is lighter than bottled, boosting shipping efficiency and reducing the cost and amount of packaging materials, as well as cutting down on cardboard usage, creating less waste and reducing the brewery’s carbon footprint.

In terms of beverage quality, cans eliminate degradation from light and oxygen. Plus, canned brews chill faster than bottled beer.

Read the full article

Blac Bistro Leaves Paper Table, Plans Restaurant

Nearly six months after launching Blac Bistro at Paper Table, restaurateurs Albert and Michele Burrus have vacated their commercial kitchen space with plans to open a restaurant in the Walker’s Point neighborhood.

The relocation, said Albert Burrus, will provide an opportunity to enhance the hospitality factor of the dining experience through ambience, alcohol and live entertainment — all of which were unachievable at the delivery-focused food hall.

The new Blac Bistro — a working title — would combine the comfort and class of a supper club with the intrigue of a speakeasy, making it an ideal date night destination.

Before exiting the food hall, Albert and Michele Burrus were operated two concepts, Blac Bistro and Black Bistro Asian & Seafood. A third, Slammin’ Sammies, was in the works.

Read the full article

Bridgewater Adds Brunch Service

After three months of settling into its brand new, riverfront space, The Bridgewater Modern Grill debuted its brunch service, featuring a new menu and extended hours.

As of Feb. 4, the lunch and dinner restaurant is open Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., serving brunch dishes such as chicken and waffles, pancakes and avocado toast.

Bridgewater, 2011 S. 1st St., opened in late October, serving a menu centered on locally-sourced ingredients and the restaurant’s oak-fed Jade Grill.

When thinking of brunch, wood-fired dishes aren’t typically top of mind; however, Bridgewater Executive Chef Steve Gustafson has dreamed up a menu that incorporates the restaurant’s open-fire flair while maintaining the familiar comfort of traditional brunch dishes.

Read the full article

New Sports Bar For Water Street?

A Water Street building that formerly housed a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant could see a sports bar and restaurant occupy that space under a new proposal.

According to a recently-filed occupancy permit, Dino Shackelford Jr. plans to open Enigma Sports Bar at the address, 1123 N. Water St.

Buffalo Wild Wings closed at the end of 2022.

The approximately 5,522-square-foot bar and restaurant space is located within the four-story Water Street Office and Coworking Center. Originally built in 1909, the downtown building has a desirable proximity to the Deer District, the MSOE campus and much of East Town. It also has a 498-square-foot outdoor patio.

Read the full article

Three Vendors Exiting North Avenue Market As Part of “Reset”

S’Blendid Boba Tea has announced a closing date for its North Avenue Market cafe. The final day for the tea shop and Korean sandwich restaurant will be Sunday, Jan. 29. Two other vendors are also leaving the market as part of what the founder describes as a “reset.”

“When you launch something, there are a lot of pieces. And so there have been some wonderful things that have happened and there have been some opportunities that we’ve had to enhance what we’re able to bring into our neighborhood,” said market founder Chris Harris Morse in an interview. “And in doing that, there are some changes that we will be implementing and looking at.”

After five months in operation at the market, S’Blendid’s Malee Thao said, the business simply outgrew its 82-square-foot space. She said S’Blendid is joined in its departure by fellow vendors Fresh Farm Bowls and Arty’s Sweet Talk Cupcakes.

“We’re looking to operate more limitlessly,” said Thao. “My decision was really led upon how we could make this work long-term for our customers.”

Read the full article

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