For the ninth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, dining guides, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as voting for your "Best of Dining 2015."
Every week in 2015, OnMilwaukee.com and local design company Too Much Metal join forces to introduce the latest member of the Milwaukee All-Stars – a team of unfamiliar winners living in the city who consistently and diligently make it shine. Each week, a new member will join the team – based on your recommendations – and at the end of the year all will come together in a Rally of the Raddest Milwaukeeans. We're not sure what that means quite yet, so for now, meet …
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: How long have you been doing what you do?
Mike Bate: I’ve been in the service industry for a number of years, but I've only worked the hot dog stand for West Allis Cheese and Sausage Shoppe at the Public Market for one summer and it has been a blast.
I've also been a therapist through the Wisconsin Early Autism Project for five years, and I’ve been making candles since March 2015.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What’s your favorite Milwaukee season?
Bate: Oh that's easy, winter … said no one from Milwaukee ever! My favorite season is autumn. Summers are always packed with fun and cool events daily, but I'm at an age where I can't keep up with it like I used to. Autumn is my favorite season because it has a way of slowing you down to reflect on the whirlwind that are Milwaukee summers. It's a beautiful season to be in for a little while before we get spanked with winter.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What’s your favorite or least favorite Milwaukee smell?
Bate: It kinda goes along with the season question, but my favorite smell is when you walk past a building that is doing their laundry and you can smell the fabric softener on the crisp autumn or winter air. Something comforting about it I guess.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What is your one wish for Milwaukee?
Bate: I hope more people go for what is in their hearts rather than just settling for the way things are. I always say nothing ever happens unless you do it. Life can get pretty packed sometimes, but if more people can find a way to make room in their day for something that they are passionate about, something they believe in, or something that they want to see happen, I think the overall morale of the city can change and lead to a happier life in general.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What side of town do you live on?
Bate: I live on the East Side and have been enjoying it for years.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: When / how did you fall in love with Milwaukee?
Bate: I know what makes me happy in life and Milwaukee satisfies a lot of those things. The thing that makes me fall in love with it is meeting people in this city that get just as pumped as I do about the things that really make me happy. Whether it is seeing a ball fly out of the park in center field or hearing your favorite song at a concert, I love giving the person next to me a high five whether I know them or if I don't.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: Why do you do what you do?
I am a big music enthusiast and one of my favorite albums is "good kid, m.A.A.d city" by Kendrick Lamar. There is a dialogue on a track where his mom says to him, "the best way to give back is to your city." I agree with that and try to create positive change in the community through the different work that I do in different fields. I realize that autism will not go away so the way I look at it is I'm just doing my part and carrying the baton on this leg in the never-ending race right now.
I'm passionate about food and creating positive experiences and when people come to see me at the hot dog stand I try to make it the best part of their day. Because really, I'm the lucky one. I get to be outside, grill, listen to music and people-watch all day on one of the most happening corners of Milwaukee! I'd be a real jerk if I didn't share the positivity and kept it all for myself.
The main reason I do what I do right now is to gain experience in both fields because I hope to one day combine the two worlds and own my own food truck. I want to hold special events that provide work experience for individuals with autism while raising awareness in the community and also fund raise for the cause at the same time. I want to do it in Milwaukee where I'm from and give back to the people that helped me along the way.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What’s your one guilty pleasure?
Bate: As I said I'm a big music enthusiast. I listen to a lot of indie, alternative stuff and am always trying to find the next awesome thing. But every so often I like to jam to some Shakira. There I said it, I like Shakira.
ONMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: If you could high five one Milwaukeean, who would it be?
Bate: Jonathen Lucroy is my favorite Brewer and he seems like a really cool dude so it would have to be him.
Do you know a Milwaukee All-Star? OnMilwaukee.com and Too Much Metal are looking for true-hearted folks living in the city of Milwaukee who love what they do – and do it with zest and style. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with recommendations.