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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

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Tornado Brewing Company is now open in Cudahy.
Tornado Brewing Company is now open in Cudahy.
Dennis Erb, bootlegger.
Dennis Erb, bootlegger.
Homebrewed spirits will knock the wind out of you.
Homebrewed spirits will knock the wind out of you.
Tornado art.
Tornado art.
Classic tavern shot.
Classic tavern shot.

Tornado Brewing Co. blows into Cudahy

Dennis Erb has always been fascinated by fierce weather conditions, so when he opened his Cudahy-based brew pub he named it Tornado Brewing Co., 3506 E. Layton Ave.

"Tornado means the brews are strong – our motto is ‘Get Torn Up.’ I do not believe in making craft beer that is under six percent ABV," says Erb.

Tornado offers beers, wines, malt liquors (clear and hard liquor flavors) as well as burgers, fries, appetizers, fish fry and a vegan menu.

The space is large, with two rooms, a patio and a volleyball court. It was formerly Cat-Daddy’s, Club VIP and other bars.

Erb has made more than 100 different beers, but currently there are 12 beers on tap, plus a white zinfandel wine and a clear malt liquor, which is 30 percent ABV.

Erb says he has been brewing for about 10 years.

"I am a convicted bootlegger – I got a misdemeanor for brewing without a license – but I have been brewing legally for about three years or so," he says.

Tornado beer is currently brewed up north in Woodman (in Grant County) – where Erb has lived for eight years – but will be brewed on site when the necessary permits are in place.

"I brew anything and everything, from basic to novelty. For instance, I currently have on tap a beer made with macadamia nuts, but I also have a basic Irish creme stout," says Erb. "I will be serving them as well. That is my favorite part of the job."

Erb’s family owns and operates The Whistle Stop in Woodman, which is where he learned how to operate a restaurant / bar.

Tornado opened unofficially last Friday, and will have a grand opening soon. Check the Facebook page to stay informed. Hours are currently limited.

The first Cafe India is located at 605 S. 1st St.
The first Cafe India is located at 605 S. 1st St.

Cafe India opens Friday in Bay View

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Sept. 26 will mark the opening of the new Café India Bar and Grill at 2201 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in Bay View.

Ald. Tony Zielinski will join owner Rakesh "Ryan" Rehan for the ceremony, which starts at noon.

This is the second Indian and Indian-American fusion restaurant for Rehan – he also has a Cafe India in Walker’s Point.

The Bay View restaurant features a new kitchen, a remodeled dining space, a full bar and an outdoor hookah bar patio and dining space.

"I am pleased to have Café India adding its unique Indian fusion menu to Bay View, and I look forward to seeing the restaurant meet with success," says Zielinski.

Personally, I am very excited this new Indian food restaurant is opening. My family lives close by and has a tradition of going out for Indian food on Thanksgiving. I think this might be our new turkey day dining spot – if it's open, of course.

It's a bird, it's a ... ?
It's a bird, it's a ... ?
Maria Lee works in the sunshine.
Maria Lee works in the sunshine.
Children love climbing on the lochness.
Children love climbing on the lochness.
One of the creatures is still "naked."
One of the creatures is still "naked."
Paint and more paint.
Paint and more paint.
The story of Izy.
The story of Izy.
The story of Izy. With feet.
The story of Izy. With feet.

Cass Street Park creatures get new "clothing"

16 years ago, Marina Lee sculpted and painted a group of whimsical public art "creatures" for the Cass Street Park, 1647 N. Cass St.

Lee is currently repainting five of the colorful animal hybrids. I happened to show up at the playground to check out the creatures while she was painting and got to ask her a few questions about the project.

"I repainted 'Mimi the Lochness' once already because that one the kids can climb on and they, literally, wore off the paint," says Lee. "That’s a good thing."

The Brady Street BID, The Zilber Family Foundation and neighbors of the school funded the repainting project. Moving forward, Lee hopes to be able to repaint them every six years.

Lee sanded the creatures "bare" and then applied a coating of gel paint and primer before the colorful design work.

"I like to think of this as a fantasy safe place," says Lee. "I always like to promote imagination with kids and adults. And children are our future art patrons."

Lee has taken input from people passing by while she’s painting.

"This one has a lot of pink and purple in it because a little girl asked me if I could paint with those colors," she says.

Some of the creatures have names and stories, etched into signage – which is also being replaced.

Lee, a graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), owns a studio in Riverwest called Beginning Dreams. She is also the artist behind Snail’s Crossing Park and the fiberglass planters at "Five Points" where Port Washington Road, Martin Luther King Drive and Keefe Avenue intersect.

Lee began the Cass Street creature repainting process in early August and will finish sometime next week.

"This project has been very rewarding for me," says Lee.

Milwaukee Blacksmith is a family affair.
Milwaukee Blacksmith is a family affair.

Milwaukee Blacksmith selected as finalist for Martha Stewart awards

Milwaukee Blacksmith is a finalist for The 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Awards. The annual competition invites makers, small-business owners and creative entrepreneurs to compete for cash and prizes.

There will be 10 winners – nine chosen by a panel of judges and one by the audience.

Winners will receive a trip for two to New York City to attend the American Made event; a spot in the American Made Market; $10,000 to grow their business; a video produced by Stewart’s in-house team; and the opportunity to be featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine and on SiriusXM radio.

Milwaukee Blacksmith "uses old school techniques and modern tooling to create everything from a coat hook to a driveway gate."

Kent Knapp serves as the lead blacksmith and his wife, Shannon, handles the business, marketing and promotion. Their three sons work in the shop as apprentices and their daughter provides prep and design for the company. (The couple also have a 2-year-old daughter and a baby on the way.)

"Our family goal is to create custom heirlooms for our clients to enjoy and know will get passed on for generations," says Knapp. "Our deep respect for the history of blacksmithing in Milwaukee and the craft itself makes our work the definition of a 'labor of love.' We honor that tradition by offering classes to spark the interest in future blacksmiths and pass down the knowledge of thousands of years."

To vote for Milwaukee Blacksmith, go here. Voting ends on Oct. 14, 2014. People can vote up to six times a day.

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