By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Nov 10, 2021 at 3:58 PM

A great deal has changed since Chef Karen Bell opened Bavette La Boucherie at 330 E. Menomonee St. in the Third Ward in 2013. 

And there are more changes on the horizon.

After nearly 9 years in its current space, Bell has announced that she’ll be moving the restaurant to a new Third Ward location at 217 N. Broadway.

Swig exteriorX

The new space, which formerly housed Swig, will offer the butcher shop and cafe an additional 1000 square feet of space. But, more importantly, it will provide an expanded kitchen, complete with a much-needed kitchen hood.

The move will provide a much-needed upgrade for Bavette, which started off as a small butcher shop, but has evolved over time into a full-blown destination restaurant with a menu that runs the gamut from casual sandwiches and snacks to finer dining style entrees. 

“With my lease coming to an end in April, I found myself at a crossroads,” says Bell, who has been honored as a James Beard semi-finalists for Best Chef Midwest for four years running.

“When we opened, the plan wasn’t to be a full-fledged restaurant. Over the years, we’ve made changes and adapted our small kitchen to meet demand, but it’s gotten harder and harder over the years.”

Bell says she expects the move to take place in early 2022, at which point the restaurant will close down for a couple of weeks to accommodate the move as well as staff training. 

Once open again, Bell says guests can expect a larger retail area at the front of the restaurant featuring fresh meat cuts, cheeses, charcuterie and grab and go items, along with a larger selection of wines and pantry items. 

Guests can also look forward to an expanded menu of offerings that befit the new location and its larger kitchen.

“I’m really excited about the possibilities and the future,” says Bell, noting that she's grateful for all of the support she's received over the years. “I’m very much looking forward to starting again with a blank slate and pulling together the design for the space.”

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.