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Hundred Acre Basil Hits Shelves at Outpost

Plus: A new downtown steakhouse, new Bay View restaurant, and LP welcomes first guests.

By - Aug 20th, 2023 06:07 pm
Hundred Acre Basil. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Hundred Acre Basil. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Hundred Acre Farms, a hydroponic, urban farm located on Milwaukee’s North Side, has begun wholesaling its basil at two local grocery chains.

Packages of the farm’s Italian basil hit shelves at all Outpost Natural Foods locations and the Historic Third Ward‘s Go Grocer MKE on Friday, Aug. 18. The company sells its salad blend at the same stores.

“Attention all home cooks, fellow local foodie supporters, and Hundred Acre enthusiasts – your demand has been heard!” Hundred Acre wrote in a social media post announcing the news. “With a harvest within 24 hours to store shelf, gone are the days of wilty short lived greens. Come test us out in your next dish!”

The company, led by Chris Corkery, was launched in 2021 and aims to address food insecurity throughout the city. Located at 3945 N. 31st St., in Century City business park, Hundred Acre uses vertical hydroponic farms to grow greens year-round.

The farm’s locally-grown greens are also featured at a handful of fine dining restaurants including Bacchus and Tre Rivali.

Winter Farmers Market Announces Dates, New Location

The Milwaukee Winter Farmers Market is already looking ahead to its 2023-2024 season, which has several changes, including a new location, in store for market-goers.

Organizers are now accepting vendor applications for the farmers market, which will run from early November to mid-April. Now entering its 15th season, the market has been organized by Fondy (formerly the Fondy Food Center) since 2015.

This year’s market will be held Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside of Fondy Food Center, formerly Legacy Bank, assuming that renovations are completed by the start of the season. The two-story, 23,130-square-foot building, 2102 W. Fond du Lac Ave., is owned by Self-Help Federal Credit Union and is located on the same block as the century-old Fondy Farmers Market.

“The new space is a beautiful, historic bank building that creates a feeling of old-time nostalgia,” organizers said in a newsletter.

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MOR Bakery Leaving Lincoln Warehouse, Seeks New Space

When you think of MOR Bakery, you might associate its title with the word “more.” A fair guess — who could pass up an extra helping of buttery shortbread, bittersweet brownies or crisp biscotti, to name a few?

But the gluten-free artisan bakery actually got its title from the Swedish word for mother. Fitting, since owner Traci Morgan-Hoernke started the business to help her son and others like him, who struggle with food allergies.

In that way, family is the crux of the five-year-old bakery; as the business grows, so does Morgan-Hoernke’s symbolic family. “I address everybody as family,” she said. “I don’t care if you bought a cupcake from us once or if you’re a constant customer. You’re family. And I bake for family.”

Since its launch in 2018, MOR has occupied a space at the north end of Bay View‘s Lincoln Warehouse, 2018 S. 1st St. Originally a walk-in establishment, MOR shifted to online ordering for pickup only during the pandemic and has stuck to the format ever since.

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Pomona Cider Hosting Murder Mystery Dinner

Pomona Cider Company is inviting guests to dig into a night of sleuthing– and a gourmet meal — at its upcoming murder mystery dinner, ‘Til Death Do Us Part.

The event, set for Wednesday, Aug. 30, promises to be all-consuming — in more ways than one. Chefs Katie Gabert and Sam Sandrin, who run the cidery’s culinary program, will prepare a three-course meal incorporating seasonal ingredients for diners to enjoy throughout the evening. Guests will attempt to solve the crime while working there way through the meal.

To start, guests can expect a fresh heirloom tomato and nasturtium salad with honeycomb and whipped blue cheese, followed by coffee-rubbed pork roast with smoked blackberry glaze and fried artichoke. A vegetarian entree includes summer vegetables and herbs atop coconut polenta and sprinkled with spicy hazelnut dukkah. Bright and tangy lemon sponge cake with raspberry preserves and woodruff (a sweet and earthy herb) buttercream will bring a sweet finish to the meal.

And though the event flyer is doused in blood-like red splatters, you’ll notice that the menu items are far from gruesome. That’s a departure from some of Gabert and Sandrin’s previous projects — namely, a halloween-themed pop-up that featured a delightfully macabre lineup, including caviar-topped venison tartare with oysters, veal sweetbreads and a cheese course showered with deep red cherry coulis.

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Twisted Plants Owners Plan New Restaurant at Sherman Phoenix

Sherman Phoenix plays host to a lineup of talented chefs who can satisfy nearly any craving — from cupcakes and caramel corn to barbeque and buffalo wings. But the May departure of Funky Fresh Spring Rolls left one notable gap: healthy, plant-based food.

That’s slated to change as soon as next month, when vegan chefs and Twisted Plants owners Arielle and Brandon Hawthorne launch their new concept at the market, 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave.

The married couple plan to open Planted Vibes, serving plant-based burgers and sandwiches, as well as bowls inspired by those previously offered by Funky Fresh — with owner TrueMan McGee‘s blessing.

The new concept will represent a sort of homecoming for the Hawthornes, who launched their first concept, Twisted Plants, as a food truck that frequented the intersection of 52nd Street and Fond du Lac Avenue, just a few blocks away from Sherman Phoenix.

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Rise & Grind Plans 2 New Locations

Baboonie Tatum has fond memories of visiting the Milwaukee Public Library with her daughters when they were growing up. Soon, she’ll be able to make more — but this time, Tatum’s daughters will be the ones visiting her at Rise & Grind Cafe‘s newest location.

The business owner, who first launched Rise & Grind in 2017, was recently selected to operate the cafe space for the Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave. Tatum runs the cafe with her business partner, Larina Hightower.

“I’m excited because it’s kind of taking me back,” said Tatum, who responded to the library’s request for proposals to fill the cafe space once occupied by R Cafe.

Tatum, a former educator, added that she’s looking forward to spending more time at the library, which her work schedule previously prevented. “I’m really excited about being in this space,” she said.

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Local Pub Opens Downtown

The newest bar and restaurant to join Milwaukee’s downtown entertainment district welcomed its first guests on Friday, Aug. 18.

Local Pub — better known as LP — hosted a soft opening on Friday and Saturday, unveiling months of work and a full redesign of the bar, which is near to Deer District.

Located at 1137 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., LP occupies the narrow storefront between Insomnia Cookies and The Moderne apartments, in what was formerly The Loaded Slate tavern.

Named in honor of the building’s early days as a music store, the new tavern is led by Edward DeShazer and Mike Edler. The pair have also recruited industry veterans Ben Crevensten and Andrew Logman. Rebecca Beres is registered agent for the business.

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Indian Restaurant Planned for Northwest Side

Ajit “Jay” Walia has no shortage of entrepreneurial prowess, as evidenced by his small empire of gas stations and convenience stores throughout the city. But his latest project, said the real estate investor and businessman, is led by his love for Milwaukee.

Walia, along with his wife, Sharon, plans to open Indian Bistro 86 at 8665 W. Brown Deer Rd. The new restaurant would replace the shuttered Bellagio Soul Food, which briefly occupied the retail space, located within a larger strip mall that’s also owned by Walia.

The restaurant would offer lunch with an emphasis on quick-service meals for on-the-go workers, along with a more leisurely dinner service.

Walia told Urban Milwaukee that his long-term goal is to set the neighborhood on an upward trajectory. Opening Indian Bistro 86 is just one step in that process, said Walia, noting that he knows it will take time and patience to make a positive impact.

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State Fair Tops 1 Million Attendees

The Wisconsin State Fair closed out its 2023 run on Sunday, bringing an end to 11 days of pig races, Ferris wheel rides and too many cream puffs to count.

Or maybe not. The Wisconsin Bakers Association reports serving 307,000 Original Cream Puffs to fairgoers this year. That means — despite the lengthy queues snaking through the cream puff pavilion — at least 736,350 attendees forwent the sweet treat.

What gives? Perhaps the remaining crowd was savory-minded, instead opting for WürstBar‘s Sporkies-winning Beer Cheese Lava Cakes, which dished out 25,285 orders of the salty snack.

Or maybe they were among the 100,000 riders on the Giant Slide and, stomach churning from the adrenaline rush, decided to forgo eating altogether.

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Maharaja Owner Plans Downtown Steakhouse

The founder of Maharaja, a long-running Indian restaurant, is poised to expand his portfolio in the second half of 2023. Balbir Singh on Monday unveiled plans for a new, modern steakhouse, Carbon Steak.

The upcoming restaurant, expected to open this fall, will be the first concept to launch under Singh’s newly-formed, family-owned hospitality company, Volante Group.

“Our family has been in this industry for decades, and we still love seeing guests, old and new, enjoying a simple night out or choosing to celebrate milestone events with us,” said Prince Singh of Volante Group. “It’s truly our honor to help make those special moments life-long memories.”

In contrast to Maharaja’s laid-back atmosphere, Carbon Steak aims to provide an elegant experience that melds a traditional steakhouse feel with modern elements. That means high-quality ingredients, aesthetic decor and exceptional service, according to a news release from the company.

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Bay View Restaurant Heirloom Opening

In perfect synchronization with its late-summer namesake, Heirloom MKE is ripe and ready for the grand opening of its first brick-and-mortar restaurant.

The farm-to-table eatery, 2378 S. Howell Ave., will welcome its first guests on Aug. 26, according to an announcement from owners Pete and Jess Ignatiev.

Throughout the past five months, the couple have transformed the Bay View restaurant space, formerly the site of Lazy Susan, into a permanent home for their mobile concept.

With licenses secured, renovations wrapped up and health inspections completed, the Ignatievs were on the home stretch of achieving their longtime dream.

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Third Space Offers Discounts for Nonprofits

Third Space Brewing Company recently introduced a new initiative through which the brewery aims to support nonprofit organizations and engage with “the diverse Milwaukee community,” according to a news release.

The Community Space Share Program, officially launched last week, invites nonprofits to rent one of the brewery’s four private event spaces for a reduced rate of $50 for up to three hours. In most cases, the offer comes in combination with a second deal: $5 pints of beer throughout the event.

Third Space’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team oversaw the conceptualization and creation of the initiative, which chairperson Carmella Castro said was “driven by the desire to foster a sense of community and create a partnership between Third Space Brewing and local nonprofit organizations.”

“By offering the use of our taproom spaces at a discounted rate, Third Space Brewing aims to provide a welcoming and accessible venue for organizations to showcase their work and engage with our diverse Milwaukee community,” Castro said in a statement.

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Knights Gourmet Popcorn Adding Cafe Space

Since taking ownership of Knights Gourmet Popcorn last winter, Brittany and Ben Essig have been hard at work integrating their micro-roastery with the existing business.

Just shy of nine months into the new venture, the married couple feel they’ve hit their stride, and are gearing up for yet another expansion, with plans to open a cafe in the space.

The project would convert 1,000 square feet of retail space at the front of the building, 4435 W. Forest Home Ave., into a coffee bar and seating area for up to 20 guests.

The business would sell sandwiches, smoothies, kombucha and small bags of popcorn, as well as coffee and espresso drinks made with beans from the couple’s own brand, Rescued Roasters.

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Firefighters, Teens Are Growing Greens In Shuttered Fire Station

Although they’re usually found riding around in bright red trucks, members of the Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD) will soon be recognized for their green thumbs.

MFD, in partnership with Community Agricultural Growing Experiences (CAGE) and Fork Farms, hosted a press conference Friday morning to introduce Gardens for First Responders. The pilot program uses compact, hydroponic gardens, dubbed Flex Farms, to grow fresh greens for community distribution.

“When you make fresh food accessible, you put yourself in a position to address issues of food and nutrition insecurity and help people eat better,” said Michael Hostad, executive vice president of social innovation at Fork Farms.

The Green Bay-based company manufactures Flex Farms, which are roughly the size of a refrigerator and provide upwards of 25 pounds of fresh greens per month.

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