Sophie Bolich

Cream City Social Eatery’s Soft Opening Is April 24

Harambee bar and restaurant will host first guests on April 24.

By - Apr 17th, 2023 05:27 pm
Site of Cream City Social Eatery, 432 E. Center St. Photo taken April 16, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of Cream City Social Eatery, 432 E. Center St. Photo taken April 16, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

A long-awaited neighborhood restaurant and bar is approaching an opening date in the Harambee neighborhood. Cream City Social Eatery, first proposed in 2019, is set to begin its soft opening on Monday, April 24.

The upcoming restaurant at 432 E. Center St. will serve both classic American plates and globally-inspired cuisine, said Diamond Johnson, who owns the business as well as the building.

The eclectic menu will be prepared by a rotating roster of local chefs including Geoffrey Campbell of G. Campbell’s Kitchen and Catering LLC and Robert Bergeron, owner of Something Smells Good Catering.

After securing a liquor license, Johnson — a licensed bartender and service manager — said she plans to introduce a signature cocktail, the Cream City, though she’s still working on fine-tuning the recipe. The cocktail will likely make its debut at the restaurant’s grand opening, tentatively scheduled for late spring or early summer.

The establishment would also introduce live entertainment down the line, including jazz musicians, comedy shows and other low-key events, said Johnson, who noted that the establishment aims to attract a mature crowd — though there is no official age limit in place.

“We’re trying to create a vibe where everyone is comfortable,” she said. “We’re just trying to have basically the ultimate fun, safe, upscale environment.”

Cream City Social Eatery will occupy a long-vacant storefront at the corner of N. Holton and E. Center streets. Throughout the past year, the building has been transformed inside and out with fresh paint, renovations and an exterior mural.

Mark Campbell, Johnson’s life partner and manager of the upcoming restaurant, was responsible for designing the 7,446-square-foot interior space.

When the couple first found the building several years ago, it was nothing more than a bare-bones structure, Johnson said. “Initially when we went in there, it was actually nothing. It was like the inside of a garage.”

But Campbell had a vision, which slowly came together throughout the following years. The finished space features booth and two-top seating, a polished wood bar and warm lighting. The walls feature a colorful mix of local art, geometric murals and a pair of wood-framed fish tanks.

“That was all his vision,” Johnson said.

Campbell brings prior bar and restaurant experience to the new venture. And though Johnson is a first-time restaurant owner, the entrepreneur already has a full plate when it comes to her career.

Johnson, who holds an associate’s degree in human service and a bachelor’s degree in human service management, is self-employed as a real estate agent and does Airbnb hosting in the Brewer’s Hill neighborhood. She also has an organization that contracts with the state to work with children and families.

Her current work schedule offers sufficient flexibility to allow for time helping out at the restaurant — specifically on the backend, she said.

Online reservations for the soft opening will be available via Facebook on Tuesday, April 18.

Cream City Social Eatery is hiring. Resumes can be submitted to

Soft opening hours for the restaurant will be from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Johnson said she hopes to introduce breakfast service starting at 7 p.m. following the grand opening.


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