Heirloom Food Truck Will Replace Lazy Susan in Bay View
First brick-and-mortar location for farm-to-truck business.
Lazy Susan is heading into the final weeks of service leading up to its April 8 closing date. But as the Bay View restaurant, 2378 S. Howell Ave., exits, a familiar face is stepping up to the seasonally-prepared plate.
Heirloom MKE, a food truck, is planning to open its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in the Lazy Susan space.
Jess Ignatiev and her husband, Pete, launched the “farm-to-truck” business in September 2020. Prior to that, the couple were on the verge of opening a restaurant in Walker’s Point. That is, until COVID-19 threw a wrench in those plans.
Amid the uncertainty of the early pandemic, the couple put a pin in their longtime dream. But soon after, Ignatiev floated the idea of purchasing a food truck. At the time, Pete was working as executive chef for a fine-dining supper club. “He thought I was crazy,” she said. “And I was like, ‘okay, well, I’m going to start looking.’ And I did.”
A few months later, the couple were preparing to launch the brand new business. “It’s been a ride,” Ignatiev said.
In the years since, Heirloom has made a name for itself with its upscale menu and emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients, featuring dishes like handmade burrata salad with pomegranate, toasted pistachio and truffle oil and braised beef rib with roasted jalapeño cheddar polenta.
The mobile operation sets up shop year-round throughout the Milwaukee area, making regular appearances at Wauwatosa’s Draft & Vessel and Ray’s Wine and Spirits.
At the new restaurant, Heirloom fans can expect to see familiar favorites including burrata salad and cheese curds. The additional kitchen space will also allow for an expanded menu featuring brand new entrees. Dishes such as shrimp polenta — previously only available as a limited special — will be available full-time in the new space.
The couple also plan to introduce a craft cocktail list featuring both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.
“We are so excited to finally get into a space and show people another side of us,” said Ignatiev, who also noted plans to decorate the dining room with bold and unexpected color combinations.
“We’re really excited to show our personality through what the restaurant space is going to feel like,” she said. “Now, people are going to be able to come inside and really get to know us on that level.”
In addition to serving guests within the 1,060-square-foot dining room, the couple shared plans to activate two corner parklets for outdoor dining during the warmer months. The restaurant will act as a base kitchen for the food truck, which Ignatiev said will continue to pop up at local events, including regular appearances in Wauwatosa.
Before landing on Lazy Susan, Ignatiev considered a number of other locations, but was always overlooked — which she suspects is related to her being a woman in the industry. “It’s been very frustrating for the last few years, dealing with that,” she said.
Things were immediately different when Ignatiev connected with A.J. Dixon, owner of Lazy Susan.
“We love A.J. and everything she’s done for the community, said Ignatiev, who credited the chef as the reason that Heirloom was finally able to secure a restaurant space. “A.J. was there to be like, ‘yep, you guys would be a perfect fit’ and looked at us as a restaurant and a business versus, ‘oh, you’re a woman. I can’t take you seriously,'” she said.
The restaurant has secured a six-year lease for the building, which is set to begin May 1. Smith and Howell LLC, which lists Ryan Endries as its agent, owns the 4,506-square-foot, two-story structure.
Ignatiev said she hopes to open “the sooner the better,” but is realistically aiming for a mid-summer opening date. A liquor license for the restaurant is pending Common Council approval.
“We take our business and how we impact the community very seriously,” she said. “We’re just really excited that we’re going to be a part of Bay View.”
Lazy Susan will remain open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. through April 8. The restaurant discontinued its brunch service in February.
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