The past 12 months have been rich with restaurant openings. But, lest we forget, there are still more on the way. And, in some cases, it’s pretty difficult not to get a bit impatient.
Here are 13 of the upcoming restaurant openings that I can’t wait to see in 2016 – or even sooner.
1. The Bartolotta-managed restaurants at the Mayfair Collection
The laid-back tavern, the classy French Cafe and the fun, chef-driven Taqueria: They’re all coming to the Mayfair Collection in 2016. And we can’t wait. Of course, first all three of the restaurants have to be named. Any guesses on what they’ll be called?
Tosa has been hungry for a great deli for longer than I can remember. We’ve learned that construction has been delayed on the space located next to Camp Bar. But, the popular sandwich spot should be up and running sometime in 2016.
This spot, which sounds like it’s going to be a game changer for the Bay View area (for both chefs and residents) got off to a bit of a rocky start. But things seem to be back on track with progress on this provisions shop/restaurant. In fact, demolition on the space, which once housed a hardware store, started just over a week ago.
I’m drooling just thinking about this long-time Milwaukee favorite making its reappearance in West Allis. And that should be happening over the next few months (I’ll keep you posted). I’m especially excited since it sounds like the new space is going to be pretty amazing. And then there’s the food ...
They’re getting close. But we’re still waiting with bated breath for this new Ibero-American restaurant to open in Bay View. After all, in the deep dark frigidness of winter, we could all use a big fat serving of ceviche and a margarita to transport us to a warmer climate.
6. Easy Tyger
This spot, which will serving up street food inspired small plates, has been grinding along for months now. But they’re getting close. I can feel it. In fact, there might even be an opening in sight before the end of 2015, if we’re lucky.
7. Hotel Madrid
Can Milwaukee handle any more awesome Spanish fare? Pretty sure we can. And we will, when Hotel Madrid opens. This baby is a labor of love, and I absolutely can not wait to see what the folks from MOVIDA are doing with this (already gorgeous, but run down) Walker’s Point space. Stay tuned for more information as it develops.
This might be one of the most anticipated openings of the year, what with the introduction of the "Milwaukee rib," a meatier porkier portion of smoked meaty goodness. There have been a few hurdles for this new barbecue restaurant (not unexpected, as they are working with a pretty untraditional business model, and getting an outdoor smoker approved by the city inspectors is no joke). But I suspect they’ll be up and running very soon.
Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef? Oh, yeah. That’s what we’ll get to enjoy when Portillo’s opens up on Bluemound Rd. And that’s scheduled to happen in 2016 as well.
10. Rare Steakhouse
Of course we can use more steak and seafood in Milwaukee, especially when it comes from this already popular Madison hotspot.
I’m a firm believer that the city can never have enough Italian – especially if it’s done well. And I have high hopes for this Bay View spot, which sounds like it’s not only going to have pretty good food (thanks to Mama’s recipes), but it’ll look pretty snazzy once the renovation is done as well.
Now that we’ve lost Lucky Joe’s Tiki Lounge, Wauwatiki can’t come soon enough. Talk about a restaurant and bar that’s kept us guessing; this one is going to be a doozy when it shows up in 2016.
13. Wy'east Pizza
I’ve been rooting for this spot for a few years now, ever since I caught wind of the fact that Oregonians James Durawa and Ann Brock had moved to town. But first, they had to find the right space. And then, the space they found turned out to need a lot of love. But when it’s all done (hopefully in the next couple of months), Vliet Street will have amazing pizza made by great people ... and a much improved street corner to boot.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.