Sophie Bolich

Aladdin’s All Aboard Cafe Closing May 16

Staffing shortages, unsafe conditions to blame for closure, owner says.

By - May 15th, 2023 01:28 pm
Aladdin's All Aboard Cafe. Photo taken May 15, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Aladdin’s All Aboard Cafe. Photo taken May 15, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

After 14 years of serving hungry travelers at the Milwaukee Intermodal complex, Aladdin’s All Aboard Cafe is leaving the station. The cafe’s final day in service will be Tuesday, May 16.

The closure comes after a year of deliberation, said owner Azmi Alaeddin“It was a very, very tough decision,” he said. “I had to struggle with it for over a year.”

The cafe has faced staffing shortages since the COVID-19 pandemic — a prevalent challenge for numerous small businesses throughout the city, but especially at All Aboard, due to what Alaeddin called “a hostile environment.”

“There is a lot of people with very bad attitudes,” said Alaeddin, who explained that crime and violence in the surrounding area often spills over to inside the station.

The cafe sees three to four incidents per day, ranging from shoplifting to outright violence, he said. Last year, a disgruntled customer threw a hotdog at a cafe employee. Alaeddin said other incidents have been more severe.

“There isn’t any single day we don’t have issues here,” Alaeddin said, adding that the situation became markedly worse during and after the pandemic.

“This location used to be my best. The best one of them all,” he said. “After the pandemic, it’s just totally changed.”

He suggested that the shift may be indicative of a larger pattern throughout the city. “You see it in the driving,” he said. “All that stuff is adding up in Milwaukee…we need more action than excuses.”

Alaeddin opened All Aboard Cafe in 2009, though his tenure in Milwaukee stretches back even farther — the industry veteran opened his first restaurant Downtown in 1996, and his Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine was an immediate hit.

The original restaurant has since closed, but Alaeddin maintains two additional establishments: Aladdin Taste of the East/Pitaworks at Milwaukee Public Market and Aladdin’s City Cafe at the Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Building. Both are expected to continue operating as usual following the closure of All Aboard.

Like its fellow Aladdin’s locations, All Aboard Cafe specializes in quick-service meals, offering a wide variety of American, Mediterranean and Mexican-inspired paninis, burgers, hot dogs, burritos and quesadillas.

Breakfast sandwiches and specialty dishes including gyros, falafel, chicken shawarma and hummus are also available, as well as hot tea, Colectivo coffee and a selection of grab-and-go snacks such as chips and candy.

The departure of All Aboard will leave a major vacancy at the station; aside from plentiful vending machines, the cafe is the only dining option within the building. Stone Creek Coffee, which sells an assortment of pastries and packaged snacks, is located across the street at 422 N. 5th St., while the Milwaukee Public Market — which houses another location for Aladdin’s — is about a half-mile directly east of the station.

Aladdin’s All Aboard Cafe is located at 422 W. St. Paul Ave., inside Milwaukee Intermodal Station. The cafe will be open Tuesday, May 16 from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m.

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2 thoughts on “Aladdin’s All Aboard Cafe Closing May 16”

  1. Ryan Cotic says:

    Another respected business run out of the city by incompetant politicians who cant bring themselves to get tough on crime… Enough is enough start enforcing our laws and start taking back the streets

  2. kenyatta2009 says:

    Another inaccurate hot take. He is closing 1 location and keeping 2 others nearby.

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