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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

Wed
Hi: 30
Lo: 21
Thu
Hi: 31
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Fri
Hi: 33
Lo: 25
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The Fratney.
The Fratney. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Eat. We insist.
Eat. We insist. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Early diners.
Early diners. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Local art adds color to the space.
Local art adds color to the space. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Riverwest Pizza offers dine in, carry out or delivery.
Riverwest Pizza offers dine in, carry out or delivery. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Manager Dominic Kissinger.
Manager Dominic Kissinger. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
One shade of gray.
One shade of gray. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
The permanent sign is still in the works.
The permanent sign is still in the works. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)

First Look: Riverwest Pizza

Riverwest Pizza opened on Monday at 932 E. Wright St. and the classy yet casual bar and eatery appears to be a good fit for a neighborhood that was in need of more late-night, delivery and brunch options.

"We’ve only been open a day and the neighborhood has already been extremely welcoming," says general manager Dominic Kissinger.

Chef Anthony Foster runs the kitchen and the menu focuses on pizzas, sandwiches and salads. Gluten-free items and a kids’ menu are also available.

The pizzas range in price depending on size and ingredients from $14 to $19. Many are named after Riverwest streets – Fratney, Pierce, Weil, etc.

The brunch menu features breakfast pizzas, frittatas, waffles and more. 

The full bar features 12 beers on tap and about 60 different bottles of beer. Wine and cocktails, developed by Jack Ford-Teich, are also available.

The space underwent a complete remodel since it was Cafe Vocar and now has dark gray walls, ambient lighting and colorful local art which will change regularly.

"The decor is rustic industrial," says Kissinger.

Shawn Hutchens, owner of the Green Fields stores, and Andrea Haas own the business.

"We wanted to provide something unique to the Riverwest experience," says Kissinger.

Riverwest Pizza is open for lunch and dinner (brunch on weekends) and available for dine in, carry out or delivery.

Fixed Gear would be even more hipster with a knit koozie.
Fixed Gear would be even more hipster with a knit koozie.

Lakefront IPA named in "The 35 Most Hipster Things That Happened in 2014"

BuzzFeed posted "The 35 Most Hipster Things That Happened in 2014" and Fixed Gear American Red IPA by Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery is No. 8.

BuzzFeed cites the IPA as a "craft beer that’s named after an impractical form of bicycle" which indeed qualifies it as hipster hooch (move over, PBR) – but let's remember that Fixed Gear is also coveted by those of us without ironic mustaches.

The fact the beer was released at least four years ago makes it less of a 2014 phenomenon, rather a brew with a name that was way ahead of the hipster curve.

Also, I’m rather fond of the drumstick toilet roll holder. 

Joel Price is ready to serve you a Guinness or two.
Joel Price is ready to serve you a Guinness or two.
The menu is British-meets-midwestern fare.
The menu is British-meets-midwestern fare.
The peoples poet.
The peoples poet.
The hostess with the mostess. Or something like that.
The hostess with the mostess. Or something like that.
Executive chef Jeff Beale.
Executive chef Jeff Beale.
The pot roast was the top order on the first night.
The pot roast was the top order on the first night.
Lion's Pride by Sprecher Brewing Co.
Lion's Pride by Sprecher Brewing Co.
Is it bigger on the inside?
Is it bigger on the inside?
It's a bit more spacious now.
It's a bit more spacious now.
Cute candle votive.
Cute candle votive.
Why not?
Why not?

First look: Red Lion Pub

Red Lion Pub, 1850 N. Water St., opened last night and we stopped in to check out the new space. OnMilwaukee.com first reported on the opening in October. It was formerly Brocach Irish Pub.

The British-themed pub is owned by Drew Deuster and JJ Kovacovich (Red Rock Saloon, McGillycuddy's) and David Price and Christopher Tinker (Three Lions Pub).

Price and Tinker are from England and came to Milwaukee to play soccer at Cardinal Stritch. They have a strong local community of friends from their homeland and have been successful at staffing both Three Lions and Red Lion with English and British friends and family members, including Price’s brother, Joel, who worked at Three Lions and now works at Red Lion.

"People sometimes think my accent is fake, that I’m doing it because I work in a pub," says Price.

Price claims he can utter an authentic "Milwaukee" accent, but he was too polite to do it even though he was provoked.

The space is similar to when it housed Brocach, but more open and spacious feeling. The removal of partitions between seats at the bar and the seating area was a good call. The new decor highpoints include a telephone booth, a display of English toys and a portrait of the late Rik Mayall of "The Young Ones" (created by Milwaukee artist Clive Promhows).

The menu is exactly as it was first reported: English pub food along with American fare such as house-made pies, pasties, fish 'n' chips, English spirits, cocktails, a large beer and ale selection and more.

Brunch will begin on Saturday and Sundays, and include blueberry lemon baked French toast, smoked salmon eggs Benedict and a "chip butty sandwich" which is a French fry sandwich with bacon and eggs.

Executive chef Jeff Beale, previously of Molly Cool's and Capital Grille, created a "traditional British pub menu with Midwestern influences."

Brunch will start up in two weeks on Saturday, Dec. 20.

"We had a great first night," says Beale. "We sold a lot of pot roast."

Read more...
Have "street taco" plates replaced the once-popular combination platters at Mexican eateries?
Have "street taco" plates replaced the once-popular combination platters at Mexican eateries?

Rudy's Mexican restaurant to become Vagabond

Rudy’s Mexican Restaurant, 1122 N. Edison St., will close its doors and reopen as Vagabond. Since 2001, Rudy’s Mexican Restaurant operated in its current location. It will close on Sunday, Dec. 7 and reopen four days later.

"We decided that we wanted to combine the overlapping worlds of dining and drinking to create a new twist on street tacos and a new entertainment option." says Matt Schmidt, director of operations.

Vagabond’s atmosphere – created by Flux Design – will combine Airstream campers, retro speakers and boom boxes with elements of stainless steel, corrugated metal and reclaimed wood.

Vagabond’s menu will feature tacos, tortas and burritos created by executive chef Ramses Alvarez. Street tacos are the menu’s main focus and will include orizaba brisket, pollo rostizado and kung pow shrimp options.

"The inspiration was to step outside conventional methods which gave us the freedom to try different ingredients and cooking techniques," says Schmidt.

Vagabond will be open daily at 11 am for lunch and dinner.

Anyone remember when Rudy’s was next door to La Fuente?

On a side note, the shift in Mexican food offerings has certainly changed over the years and moved from the massive combination platters to a pick-and-choose "street taco" menu that was available at the now-defunct COA and the Bel Air Cantinas. Interesting.