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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

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Do not eat.
Do not eat. (Photo: bonnebell.com)

Five things I've eaten that weren't food

For the eighth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2014."

Clearly, I have an oral fixation. (Yeah, yeah, pervs, go there if you must.) I have always liked eating, drinking and smoking – even though I have not done the latter in many years now.

Recently, after scolding my son for, again, chewing on a pen cap, I started thinking about all of the things I’ve put into my mouth that were not meant for consumption.

Here is a list of items I’ve eaten that were not food.

Bonne Bell lip smacker – I could not help it. I was five and it smelled so much like bubblegum that I had to taste it. Terrible idea. The Dr. Pepper flavored one wasn’t any better.

Paste – I had a problem with eating food that looked like vanilla frosting, but wasn’t. However, it was totally unnecessary for that yellow-haired boy to point at me and announce to the entire kindergarten that I was a paste-licker. 

Crisco – See "paste."

Barbie Doll shoes – This one baffles me. I have a very vague memory of chewing on squishy, plastic Barbie shoes when I was about 2. I remember gnawing on them for a long time, but I do not think that I swallowed them.

Easter egg dye pellets – I thought they were Sprees (candy). So I ate them. And wow, colorful poop.

The space is too cool to stay closed for long.
The space is too cool to stay closed for long.

What's next for Turner Hall Restaurant?

In November 2012, Turner Hall Restaurant reopened after a major remodel. On June 4, the restaurant posted on Facebook that it would no longer have regular hours of operation over the summer season, but was available for private events and catering.

The post also expressed thanks to customers and said "we hope to see you again in the fall."

But the restaurant apparently remains closed and calls to Turner Hall Restaurant were directed to a voicemail with a full mailbox.

The BMO Harris Bradley Center was the entity that reopened the restaurant in 2012, but today, The Pabst Theater Foundation applied for a Class B Tavern and Food Dealer License. The Pabst Theater Foundation hosts concerts and events on the second floor of the building, and owns and operates the Pabst Theater and Riverside Theater as well as booking concerts at other area venues like the BMO Harris Pavilion at Summerfest. 

So, what’s in the cards for this iconic Downtown Milwaukee dining, drinking and fish fry space? At this point, Pabst officials are not revealing any plans, so stay tuned for more info when it becomes available.

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.