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9 Milwaukee Chefs Collaborate For a Cause

Plus: BBQ for Northwest Side, Potawatomi touts new restaurant and goodbye Good Soup.

By - Sep 10th, 2023 12:51 pm
Potawatomi Hotel and Casino. Photo courtesy of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

Potawatomi Hotel and Casino. Photo courtesy of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

The Milwaukee Chef Collaboration Dinner will return for a fifth year this November, assembling some of the city’s most influential chefs to cook for a cause.

This year’s eight course dinner will be held at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, 1721 W. Canal St., on Nov. 12. The evening will begin with a cocktail hour at 5 p.m., with the first course served at 6 p.m.

What started in 2017 as an intimate dinner experience has since burgeoned into one of the most anticipated culinary gatherings of the year.

This year’s dinner promises to be another one for the books — featuring a diverse group of chefs and restaurateurs whose specialties run the gamut from fine dining to fast-casual eats.

The lineup includes Ben Jones of Potawatomi Casino, Imani Graham of Mentionable Eats, Ramses Alvarez of Brasserie Des Arts, Adam Siegel of Lupi & Iris, Joe Muench of Black Shoe Hospitality, Kyle Knall of Birch, Adam Pawlak of Egg & Flour and Katie and Kurt Fogle of Dairyland/ Mid-Way Bakery.

Each chef will design and prepare one course for the meal, with married couple Katie and Kurt Fogle working as a team. Pairings will be provided courtesy of cocktail expert Tripper Duval, whose credits include Lost Whale and Holey Mackerel.

Benefitting charities include PFFWCF Summer Burn Camp, Sojourner Family Peace Center, COA Youth & Family Center, March of Dimes, Humane Animal Welfare Society, This Time Tomorrow Foundation, Autism Society of Southeast Wisconsin and American Cancer Society.

Four previous dinners have raised a combined total of more than $100,000 for more than 25 different charities, creator Pawlak noted in a Sept. 8 social media post.

He also warned that the event will sell out quickly, and urged interested parties to act fast. Ticket sales for the 2023 event began on Friday, Sept. 8. Just hours later, VIP seats, priced at $250 each, were sold out.

Regular tickets, $230 each, are available for purchase online. As of Friday afternoon, 56 remained.

La Bodega Nears Grand Opening on Mitchell Street

A new, Latin American-inspired cafe will officially open its doors later this month, with plans to deliver a dose of color, community and coffee to the South Side.

A grand opening ceremony for La Bodega, 731 W. Historic Mitchell St., is set for Monday, Sept. 18.

The cafe, first proposed last summer, marks the culmination of a longtime dream for owner Eleazar Maldonado, who said he hopes the business will double as a community gathering place.

While designing the cafe space, formerly the site of an A-1 Beauty shop, Maldonado drew inspiration from both his wife’s Latin American roots and his own extensive travels throughout Central and South America.

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See Potawatomi’s Latest Updates In $190 Million Renovation

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino unveiled a series of renovations Thursday morning to the gaming and entertainment destination — the latest in a multi-phase, $190 million project.

The most recent additions include two new gaming areas, a new bar and restaurant and more than 300 new slot machines on the casino’s second floor.

“It is our priority to bring our guests the next level of gaming, and do so in an inviting and entertaining atmosphere,” said Dominic Ortiz, CEO and general manager of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

The renovation project, which encompasses 114,000 square feet within the casino, first began in May 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2024. The intention, said Ortiz, is to provide a modernized experience for guests while keeping pace with Milwaukee’s rising status.

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Charlie P’s Barbeque Plans Northwest Side Restaurant

Since he started selling barbeque at Fondy Farmers Market in 2020, customers have had just one pressing question for Charlie Hood: when will you open a standalone restaurant?

Business — like barbeque — needn’t be rushed, but after a few years of low and slow growth, Hood is finally ready to make the leap to a brick-and-mortar establishment.

“Based on the feedback from customers, it’s about time,” he said. Hood began setting his plans into action earlier this summer, submitting a license application for Charlie P’s Barbeque at 8628 N. 107th St., formerly the site of The Corn King.

And though the business is still in its early days, Hood’s skills have been a lifetime in the making.

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Milwaukee’s Oldest Bar Is For Sale

A tavern as old as Milwaukee is looking for a new owner to write its next chapter.

Joseph G. Halser III owned and operated Landmark 1850 Inn from 1983 until his passing in 2022, when the bar closed.

The 10.6-acre site, located at 5905 S. Howell Ave. across from Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, is now for sale for $5 million.

The listing from Halser’s family includes the two-story Cream City brick building that housed the bar, a former trucking building Halser used historic objects to repurpose into The Terminal beer garden and event venue, a wood-frame building that previously housed the Port of Hamburg bar, a garage that sits on its own parcel and lots of open land.

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Central Standard Seeks Hall of Fame Nominations

Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen is once again accepting nominations for its Brandy Old Fashioned Hall of Fame. And while prospective nominees need not hail from Wisconsin, their choice spirits ought to.

As of Sept. 1, the Central Standard’s co-founders Evan Hughes and Pat McQuillan launched a month-long campaign encouraging consumers to request local brandy in their drinks.

“We’d love for everyone to ask for our North Wisconsin Brandy when ordering their old fashioned cocktails,” McQuillan said in a statement. “But more importantly, we want to encourage people to drink locally, support hard-working Wisconsin families and taste brandy from local distillers.”

In a show of commitment — and to raise additional awareness for their mission — Hughes and McQuillan collaborated with Governor Tony Evers to proclaim September Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned Month, with Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned Day on Sept. 23.

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The Fall Fest of Ale Returns

Fall Fest of Ale is set to return to Lakefront Brewery for the first time since 2019.

The autumn-themed event will be held Sunday, Sept. 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the brewery, 1872 N. Commerce St., featuring specialty drinks, family-friendly entertainment, a makers market and food from nine local vendors.

“After successful efforts embracing spring with our Maifest event, we thought it only fair to celebrate the return of warm cider, cozy blankets, and all things pumpkin,” Lakefront Brewery wrote in a social media post.

The outdoor event will sprawl throughout the brewery’s large, riverfront property, with activities to take place in the parking lot east of the building and on the newly-renovated patio.

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Mexican Restaurant Chain Coming to Milwaukee

At Fast Taco, what you see is what you get.

“I always say, ‘if you’re hungry, come with us, because we serve you fast,”‘ said Armando Cruz, co-owner of the Mexican restaurant and grocery chain.

The family-owned business got its start in 2014, opening as a small restaurant within Lupita’s Mexican Store in Chilton. Since then, the company has grown to include nine locations throughout the state, as well as a small fleet of food trucks.

Several new locations are still on the way, said Cruz, including an eatery proposed for 10505 W. Brown Deer Rd., on Milwaukee’s Northwest Side.

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Buffalo Boss Opening on Near West Side

Buffalo Boss is bringing its New York-style chicken wings to a new neighborhood. The restaurant, a four-year tenant of Sherman Phoenix Marketplace, will soon open a second Milwaukee location at 540 N. 27th St., on the Near West Side.

The upcoming restaurant plans to welcome its first guests on Monday, Sept. 11, serving mainstay menu items including organic chicken wings, tenders and meatless wings — plus several new additions and exclusive offerings. It will be the latest of four new businesses to open in the area, joining the recently-launched Gray Jett Cafe, The Academy of Skin & Beauty and Washington Park Media Center.

On its website and signage, Buffalo Boss claims to be a purveyor of “Brooklyn’s finest wings.” And while that may be subjective, there is some truth to the title — the restaurant got its start in the New York City borough back in 2010 under founder Jamar White.

The chain is backed by White’s cousin, Shawn Carter (better known by his stage name Jay-Z), and has locations in Brooklyn and Orlando. Entrepreneur Taj Pearsall opened the first Milwaukee restaurant in 2019.

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Lush Gourmet Popcorn Opening in Riverwest

Not much can beat a simple bowl of popcorn loaded with butter and salt, but Marcia and Marc Taylor tried anyway.

The brother-sister team began producing flavor-infused popcorn back in 2014, creating more than 30 variations — and a business — along the way. What started as a pop-up and wholesale operation grew to include a vendor stall at Sherman Phoenix Marketplace in 2018.

Now, Lush Gourmet Popcorn is gearing up for the grand opening of its first standalone location, which will replace the longstanding Klinger’s East at 920 E. Locust St. The former Riverwest tavern closed in June 2022.

Opening weekend is set to kick off Friday, Sept. 22 with an 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting, for which Mayor Cavalier Johnson will be in attendance. Later that day, Lush will host happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., offering specialty cocktails, snacks and performances from local DJs. The festivities will continue the following day, Saturday, Sept. 23, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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New Bars and Restaurants That Opened in August


Vault, a cocktail lounge and raw bar, was the latest of four new dining concepts to join the Associated Bank River Center.

Located on the second floor of the 28-story office building, 111 E. Kilbourn Ave, Vault offers a variety of fresh seafood, shareable appetizers and craft cocktails — all accompanied by remarkable views of the Milwaukee River.

The lounge is situated in the heart of the Milwaukee Theater District, making it a convenient spot to gather pre- or post-show.

Read our earlier coverage

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La Canoa Serves Up So Many Different Dishes

La Canoa, located at 1520 W. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Village, has an established reputation for seafood. After two meals at the restaurant, I can vouch for the vast array of seafood choices and anything else you think you might find on a menu in a Mexican restaurant. At La Canoa, it is all about choices.

Everything friends and I sampled was top-of-the-line and came to the table quickly, thanks to efficient and friendly servers. As soon as we were seated, our server brought the usual chips, red and green salsa, one chipotle-flavored, one classic salsa verde, and a surprise container of ceviche. It was sunshine and a beach in a bowl, tilapia with lime, onion, and finely chopped tomatoes.

The weighty menu was humongous, more than a dozen illustrated pages crammed with photos of every possible combination of dishes. When I asked our server if she had a hard time keeping all the orders straight because the number of options was overwhelming to my companion and me, she replied, “I don’t have problems, but the cooks do.” When you study the menu, you will understand why.

We may have spent more time deciding what to order than we spent consuming our meals. You can have your protein, seafood or not, chopped, breaded, sauteed, fried, deep-fried, with butter, in soup or salad, on a sope, or, if you order seafood, raw or cooked. You could order frog legs, oysters, lobster, BBQ ribs, pork chops, octopus, clams, mussels, calamari, and Porter house steak. I believe you could dine at La Canoa every day for a year and never repeat a meal.

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Following Motorcycle Crash, Good Soup Closing

Samantha Zielinski opened Good Soup last November, serving up bowls of seasonal soup — accompanied by thick slices of homemade sourdough — from a tiny kitchen in the West View neighborhood.

Throughout its roughly nine months in business, the restaurant, 3135 S. 92nd St., was especially cognizant of third-shift workers, operating late into the night and early-morning hours to accommodate nurses and other healthcare workers.

In an ironic twist of fate, Zielinski will soon close Good Soup in order to care for her fiance and co-owner, Travis Reynolds, while he recovers from a serious motorcycle crash.

The restaurant will sell the last of its inventory on Saturday, Sept. 2 and Sunday, Sept. 3 from noon until 6 p.m.. The restaurant is offering 16-ounce and 32-ounce containers of cold soup and full loaves of sourdough for carryout.

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Seven Years From Dream To Reality, Sushi Yuki Finally Opens In Bay View

Sushi Yuki opened its doors to the public on Aug. 30, inviting diners into its chic Bay View dining room to partake in fresh sashimi, rice dishes, teriyaki and more.

What guests may not know, however, is that their first taste of the new Japanese restaurant was seven years in the making.

Owners Jin San Koh and Sung Hee “Jenny” Kim first proposed the restaurant back in 2016, after purchasing the former Puente’s Barbershop, 2349 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The married couple are experienced restaurateurs, with credits including Sakura Japan Sushi & Grill in Waukesha and the now-closed Osaka Little Japan.

Koh and Kim later demolished the Bay View building and constructed a new one in its place. The sleek, all-black structure, situated between Tip Top Atomic Shop and a residential home, sat as a seemingly completed restaurant for more than two years without a word from the owners.

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