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What restaurant concept do you want in Downtown Milwaukee?
What restaurant concept do you want in Downtown Milwaukee? (Photo: Visit Milwaukee)

Downtown Milwaukee needs which type of restaurant next?

Last week I finally had lunch at City Winery in Chicago.  It’s a project done by Phillip Katz, a former Milwaukeean who owns Project Development LLC.  It was founded, though, in New York’s Soho neighborhood by Michael Dorf, another Milwaukee native who founded, then sold, NYC’s legendary club The Knitting Factory. 

The location (one of seven in the country; a second Chicago outpost is located on the city's riverwalk) – in the West Loop at 1200 W. Randolph St. – seats 300 and is spacious, beautifully designed and features a fully operational winery, restaurant with outdoor patio, concert venue and event space.  The 30,000-square foot location is super cool with its old brick and timber construction and funky, but not too funky, design. Perfect, I thought, for Milwaukee. 

(PHOTO: Bobby Tanzilo)

As we look at the growth in and around Downtown, I think a place like City Winery could do well. It’s unique, large and creates an experience that’s missing in our market. 

With seemingly new cranes popping up daily and transactions cranking and banking at the speed of sound, Milwaukee’s in a development boon. Yet, have we really asked the questions: What do we need?  What do we want in a restaurant or bar? What’s missing?  What works for the 25-50 demographic these days?

I want to know your thoughts. What’s missing in Downtown Milwaukee? 

Fire away on FB, Twitter or via the talkback feature below. Onward and On Milwaukee!

Thanks to the kind soul who found and returned a lost debit card.
Thanks to the kind soul who found and returned a lost debit card.

Lost, found and grateful

I knew I had lost it.  Went for a walk last Saturday, took only my phone and debit card. Phone was for some podcast catch up and debit card for a quick stop at the grocery store on the way home.

So, I get to our friendly Metro Market, grab a few things and check out. Oops, no card in my pocket.  There wasn’t a doubt that I had had it with me, so I quickly surmised that I had dropped it somewhere on the East Side or in Shorewood. It didn’t even hesitate to instantly cancel it.  And, that’s what I did. It’s a pain, but a preventive measure that was needed.  I’d have to wait 7-10 days for a new card, change a bunch of auto charges, but oh well. I want to move along with my life.

Happy, encouraging ending, though, and proof that people don’t suck as much as you think they do:  A few days later, I got a call from my bank. Someone had returned my card, and asked that the branch contact me. 

This is good news, of course, for this Monday.  People still care, want to help and are looking out for you.

So, a big thanks to whomever found my card and took the time out to return it. I’ll be sure to pay it forward and ask that we all do so in our own little ways this week and always.

Dine inside MPM on May 12!
Dine inside MPM on May 12! (Photo: Bobby Tanzilo)

Moveable Feast set for May 12

No, it’s not the memoir of author Ernest Hemingway rather this Moveable Feast, slated for May 12, is Milwaukee’s version of a creative dining event inside the Milwaukee Public Museum.

OnMilwaukee is happy and honored to help sponsor the event, so I want to encourage you to buy tickets and help us spread the word.  Eating and drinking inside the Museum isn’t usually allowed.  But for events like Moveable Feast and, of course, the annual Food & Froth Festival it’s embraced, encouraged and wonderful. 

On the docket are six top Milwaukee-area chefs who will showcase their creative culinary skills as you walk your way through this multi room/area progressive dinner event. Each chef will design a dinner course inspired by a museum diorama of their choice, and guests will progress throughout the exhibit halls as they learn, taste and talk. 

The chefs for the event are:

  • Nell Benton of The National Café
  • Barkha Daily of The Cheel
  • AJ Dixon of Lazy Susan MKE
  • Ana Docta of KASANA Restaurant + Bar + Catering
  • David Magnasco of The Chef's Table
  • David Swanson of Braise

Learn more about the event here, and read our exclusive profiles stories here

Which grocery store would fit best on Wisconsin Avenue?
Which grocery store would fit best on Wisconsin Avenue?

Which grocery store should land at Grand Avenue?

Most of my hours are spent in and around Downtown Milwaukee. And when we lived at our condo at the Cawker Building, my family always wanted a grocery store that was just a bit closer than the Pick ’N Save at East Pointe or the Metro Market on Van Buren. 

Today brings news that the ever-evolving plans for the old Grand Avenue Mall include mainly offices and possibly a new grocery store. There’s also rumors that a new name for the entire complex is in the works, too. 

I’ve seen a few of the new ideas and concepts for the mall, and I love that it could soon house businesses large and small, as well as finally (according to many sources) open up and embrace Wisconsin Avenue.

Westown, the neighborhood in which the mall resides, deserves a rejuvenated "mall," and the many groups working on this project have made great progress. Kudos.

But which grocer would be best for the heart of Downtown Milwaukee?

Whole Foods Market? Sendik’s? Metro Market? Aldi? Trader Joe’s? Kroeger? Meijer? Target? Sprouts Farmers Market? Another one?  

Chime in, tweet and let your inner grocer shine.