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The Stone Creek Factory opens Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 a.m.
The Stone Creek Factory opens Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 a.m.
The interior is warm and inviting.
The interior is warm and inviting.
The roasting and wholesale area in the back of the Factory.
The roasting and wholesale area in the back of the Factory.
The second floor features meeting and office space.
The second floor features meeting and office space.
The Stone Creek training center. All employees undergo at least 40 hours of training.
The Stone Creek training center. All employees undergo at least 40 hours of training.
The Stone Creek Kitchen will provide the edibles to all nine cafes.
The Stone Creek Kitchen will provide the edibles to all nine cafes.
Stone Creek Factory is just a block from the Intermodal Station.
Stone Creek Factory is just a block from the Intermodal Station.
All that's missing is a nine-foot scone.
All that's missing is a nine-foot scone.
An artist hand paints final details on the building.
An artist hand paints final details on the building.

First Look: Stone Creek Coffee "Factory"

Stone Creek Coffee's Downtown "Factory," 422 N. 5th St., opens Saturday, Dec. 1 after a 10-month renovation project.

The grand opening starts at 7 a.m. with events throughout the day including tours of the roasting facility and kitchen, brew method demonstrations, coffee cuppings and samples from the new kitchen line. For the schedule of events, visit www.stonecreekcoffee.com.

The 124-year-old building was formerly used for roasting, wholesale, storage and office space.

It now also features Stone Creek's ninth retail café – as well as its largest – and the new Stone Creek Kitchen.

Executive Chef Aaron Patin is in charge of the new 1,500-square-foot kitchen, located on the second floor of the Factory. It will supply all of Stone Creek's cafes with made-from-scratch, freshly baked goods that have been designed to pair directly with the coffees.

"Coffee is the inspiration for what we are doing, and the food we are creating will relate back to that, in one way or another, " Patin said. "By focusing on seasonal ingredients and local sources, we want to elevate the morning coffee ritual."

The Factory will also be open to the public for tastings, coffee classes, meeting space and other events.

The cafe features two large sitting areas – one with most of the seating borders the barista station and one with a fireplace.

Much of the materials used to construct the cafe were reused and recycled items, including the wooden tables which were made from the ceiling beams.

There's also a new, massive skylight and a nine-foot-wide coffee cup perched a top the building that's visible from the freeway.

"The cup was (president / owner) Eric's dream," says Kristin Palser, wholesale and e-commerce director. "We're hoping to someday have smoke coming out of it."

According to Palser, the coffee cup could contain 10,000 regular cups of coffee and was designed to look like the mugs used inside the cafes.

The Factory renovations are part of a $1.3 million, two-year…

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Turner Hall restaurant opens to the public on Friday, Nov. 30.
Turner Hall restaurant opens to the public on Friday, Nov. 30.
The remodeled space is a nod to the past.
The remodeled space is a nod to the past.
Parts of it look very similar to the former restaurant.
Parts of it look very similar to the former restaurant.
Shuffleboard, anyone?
Shuffleboard, anyone?
Chef Thomas Peschong runs the kitchen.
Chef Thomas Peschong runs the kitchen.
The po' boy this time, the fish fry next.
The po' boy this time, the fish fry next.
Casual, yet elegant.
Casual, yet elegant.
Downtown's latest beer-and-fish-fry destination.
Downtown's latest beer-and-fish-fry destination.
Vintage beer steins in the background, flat screens in the front.
Vintage beer steins in the background, flat screens in the front.

First Look: Turner Hall Restaurant

The BMO Harris Bradley Center announced today that the newly renovated Turner Hall Restaurant, 1038 N. 4th St., will officially reopen on Friday, Nov. 30.

The restaurant, which closed several years ago, was recently renovated by the BMO Harris Bradley Center under an agreement with the Milwaukee Turners and the Turner Ballroom Preservation Trust.

We stopped by today for a sneak peek.

Although the configuration is very similar to the former bar and restaurant, there are some noticeable changes. In general, the space is much lighter, with blond wood floors and more light fixtures, combined with the natural light coming in through the stunning stained glass windows.

Award-winning chef Thomas Peschong, who was the chef at The Riversite in Mequon for more than two decades, and veteran bar manager Kirby Wachniak are running the food and drink.

"We've created a menu filled with familiar foods that have made Turner popular among Milwaukeeans, while offering some unique new flavors they'll also enjoy," Peschong said. "I think our customers will enjoy the variety of food we are serving amid the wonderful renovations that bring Turner back to life."

The traditional fish fry will feature a choice of either Atlantic cod (beer battered or baked, $12), breaded walleye ($14) or lake perch ($14).

Additional signature Milwaukee dishes include cheese curds with tomato jam, old world pretzels, pork loin schnitzel, Wisconsin mac 'n' cheese (available with elbow macaroni or cauliflower) and a Usinger's brat.

Four different kinds of sirloin burgers, filet mignon, and a lake perch po' boy are also available. All of the sandwiches range from $8 to $10 and the entrees are $15-17.

The bar, which is the same square shape as the old bar, but larger, offers a full line of beer, wine and cocktails. All new draft lines were installed.

The overall appearance of the new Turner Hall Restaurant balances the past with the present.

"Everything you see from eye level and above has been restor…

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Shop MODify online or stop by the new shop to sell a few items.
Shop MODify online or stop by the new shop to sell a few items.

MODify moves to Tosa and goes online

The resale and art shop, MODify, recently closed its doors at 222 E. Erie St. in the Third Ward and has moved the business to 7217-A W. North Ave. in Wauwatosa.

Owner Jill Klemz says the new shop serves as a headquarters to buy gently used items that she will sell online.

"We are still the same trendy retail / resale destination for men and women. Our online store carries edgy clothing, shoes and accessories catering to our fashion-forward customers for a fraction of the price they would pay in a department store," says Klemz.

MODify buys like-new men's and women's clothing, shoes and accessories on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the new North Avenue location.

"We urge customers to read our buy policy on our website for guidelines when bringing items in for sale," says Klemz.

The frigid waters of the Polar Bear Plunge might get me one day.
The frigid waters of the Polar Bear Plunge might get me one day.

Five "very Milwaukee" ways to kick the bucket

I was born in Milwaukee. Chances are, I will die in Milwaukee. And in between these two events I've developed a rather dark sense of humor – which has led me to write this blog.

In short, because I have lived a very Milwaukee life, I think it would be fitting and a little funny if I died a very Milwaukee death. So here are a few ways I'm hoping to go. (But not too soon – OK, universe?)

1. Struck by a falling chunk of the Hoan Bridge while leaving Summerfest at closing time on the very last night of, say, Summerfest 2065.

2. Run over by a fleet of Harley-Davidsons. Not just one, please, but at least six or seven. I guess I want a dramatic death.

3. Strangled by a string of Usinger's sausages. Choking on a brat chunk is a possibility, too.

4. Die of a broken heart if the Oriental Theater ever closes.

5. Freeze to death during a New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge. I keep saying I'm never doing it again, and yet, and yet ...