The highly anticipated 3rd Street Market Hall, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., will open its doors to the public on Friday, Jan. 14 at 11 a.m.
The new 40,000-square -foot food hall – which revitalizes a historic location in Milwaukee’s Downtown – is poised to become a dining epicenter for the Westown neighborhood, offering varied dining options for Downtown employees, residents of the fully leased Plankinton Clover apartments, convention center attendees and virtually anyone who visits the area to take in a concert, theater performance, sports game or other activity. The location is also easily accessible from Milwaukee’s extensive skywalk system, which provides easy all-weather travel for up to 4,000 people per day.
Although the food hall is not opening at full occupancy, inaugural guests will be able to experience food and beverages from five vendor stations, grab a drink at the bar and enjoy games including snookball, shuffleboard, giant Jenga, bags and video games. You can also grab some Milwaukee gear from Brew City Brand, which operates a retail stall in the market hall.
You can also purchase tickets online, which are good for one-hour admission to Photoverse, the market hall’s selfie museum, which was created in collaboration with the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD). Inside you’ll find 27 creative installations, plus props that can be used to perfect your selfies.
Of course, this is a food hall, so the big feature is the food. And that's where we've got all the details you need to plan your first delicious visit.
Here's a peek at the inaugural food vendors and their offerings! (Heads up: Menus for the first weekend may be slightly abbreviated.)
As the anchor tenant for the food hall, Dairyland Old Fashioned Hamburgers & Frozen Custard occupies one of the largest vendor spaces in the food hall, complete with a 3,200-square-foot commercial kitchen space, which is shared by shared by Mid-Way Bakery and a rotating slate of hawker stall vendors. Their vendor booth also features mural work by local artist Fred Kames.
The concept, which focuses on well-executed Cream City and Wisconsin staples, will offer a menu of burgers made with house-ground beef ($7.95-$10.95); grilled and fried chicken sandwiches ($8.95-$12.95); and sides, including fries, ultra crisp onion rings and battered cheese curds. (Sides are $3.95-$10.95.)
There will also be Dairyland fish fry on Fridays featuring Central Waters' Honey Blonde battered cod, buttermilk coleslaw and rye bread.
But – and this is the big one – Dairyland will also introduce, for the first time, a landmark specialty: small batch frozen custard made onsite.
Unlike most local custard stands, Dairyland is upping the ante on this classic Wisconsin treat. Rather than purchasing the usual commercial base for their custard, they will create their own custard bases from scratch, allowing them to match the base flavor of the custard perfectly to any flavorings or add-ins.
Full control over their premium scratch-made custard base also allows them to create a base that’s as stable as possible, which means pints can be sold and stored without a loss of texture or the crystallization that’s typical of store-bought custard.
Custard options for the opening are likely to include scoops, select sundaes, shakes and malts, though the selection will expand over time.
This brand new bakery operation, headed up by Pastry Chef Katie Fogle, specializes in desserts that utilize classic French techniques to reproduce the beloved flavors of time-honored desserts in modern, innovative formats.
Don’t be fooled by the bakery’s whimsical, vibrant 1990s county fair-inspired theme. They are fun, but they’re not fooling around. In fact, you’ll find some of the best baked goods in the city right here inside the food hall.
On the menu for Mid-Way Bakery’s debut is a slate of items including croissants (regular or chocolate, $3.95), fruit or "everything" Danish ($5.95), pull-apart bread ($5.95) and kouign amann ($4.95).
There will also be cookies (chocolate chip, peanut butter, triple chocolate, M&M and oatmeal raisin, $3.95) along with bars (caramel fudge brownies, pecan blondies and LP bars, $4.95); coffee cake (cinnamon, blueberry and chocolate chip, $4.95); and Dutchies (apple or banana, $4.95).
The bakery will also offer savory items including soup ($4.95/$7.95), salads (Kale, Caesar! and a chopped wedge, $9.95) and hoagies featuring house-baked Mid-Way seeded hoagie rolls filled with items like turkey (gruyere, lettuce, pickled peppers and onions, vinaigrette), pesto chicken (grilled chicken breast, provolone, tomato, pickled peppers and onions, pesto mayo) and ham and cheese (Black Forest ham, cheddar, pickles, lettuce, herbed mayo, vinaigrette). Hoagies are $9.95 each.
Get ready for delectable housemade pasta dishes and delicious desserts from Strega, a woman-owned concept that will debut at the market hall. Behind the concept are industry veterans Katie Gabert, former chef de cuisine at Goodkind, and Sam Sandrin, former manager at Greige Patisserie, both of whom will lend their culinary skills to the concept.
At 3rd Street, Strega will roll out an inaugural menu featuring pastas such as EZ Mac (gemelli pasta with gjetost cheddar sauce, parsley, lemon salt) and squid ink spaghetti with tomato butter, popcorn shrimp, Strega chili crisp, fish sauce and balsamic glaze. (Pastas are $9 for a small portion and $16 for large.)
Snacks will include chicken liver mousse with hot paprika and fried olives ($10) and Ambrosia Salad (maraschino cherry whip, mandarin oranges, licorice marshmallow, brown butter coconut and Oaxacan crema, $6).
Meanwhile, sweets will include coconut and parsnip cake ($12) and rose and rose wine panna cotta ($8).
Hot Dish Pantry
You might already be familiar with the offerings from Hot Dish Pantry, which made its debut in January of 2021 as a convenient pick-up and delivery operation offering snacks, pierogi and hot dishes perfect for stocking your home freezer and pantry.
Operated by Chef Nathan Heck and Laura Maigatter, Hot Dish Pantry will offer a range of ready-to-eat pierogi (including flavors like loaded baked potato, crab rangoon, aloo chaat, mushroom kraut and apple pie) at three for $9.
The "hot dish" of the moment features ground beef, grilled corn, roasted carrots and peas with mushroom cream and a topping of crispy tater tots ($10).
Snacks will include seasoned oyster crackers (dill and ranch or bbq) for $3 and puppy chow (classic or chai) for $4.
Housemade non-alcoholic Wisco Brandy Old Fashioned soda will also be available for $3.
Amano Pan is also a brand new panaderia and pizzeria operated by bread baker Edgar Cuarezma and his wife Aemi Kato-Cuarezma.
Their inaugural menu will feature expertly baked naturally leavened (sourdough) breads including their signature house loaf, baguettes, rye, sesame, raisin and miche ($5-$12), along with vegetable based pizzas on sourdough crust. (Slices for $2.50-$3; whole pies for $18-$22.)
Additional items will include cookies (buckwheat chocolate chip, rye shortbread and buckwheat shortbread) for $2-$3 each and rosquilla, a savory dipping cookie made from masa and cheese. ($0.50 each or a dozen for $5.) Anodyne coffee, Rishi tea and dairy free amazake horchata will also be available.
In addition to the lineup of vendors which will debut on Jan. 14, 3rd Street Market Hall will also welcome an impressive slate of additional vendors, a good number of which could open by late February or early March (and the full slate expected by early April).
Those vendors include MaKE Waves (smoothies, juices, acai bowls) and The Greenhouse (sandwiches, soups and salads), as well as the Strange Town Bottle Shop (natural wines, vegan grab and go items), Kawa 3rd Street (ramen, sushi), Dawg City (hot dogs, sausages), Anytime Arepas (Venezuelan arepas, desserts), Supernova Coffee & Doughnuts (doughnuts, coffee), Middle East Side (Middle Eastern sandwiches), Paper Plane Pizza (pizza) and Sweet Treats.
TopGolf Swing Suites will also have a presence at the market hall in the coming weeks, offering golf fans an opportunity to perfect their swing.
This weekend, the 3rd Street Market Hall will open Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
From Jan. 17 until Feb. 13, the Market Hall will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (9 p.m. for the bar and activities), Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Beginning Monday, Feb. 14, the 3rd Street Market Hall will be open seven days a week, with hours from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays.
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.