By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jul 13, 2021 at 10:01 AM

After months of operating without a break, Braise Restaurant, 1101 S. 2nd St. will be taking a brief hiatus to give employees an opportunity to relax, breathe and enjoy time with their families. 

The pause in service will begin Tuesday, July 13 and extend for about two weeks (an exact date will be announced on social media).

In the interim, owner and chef Dave Swanson says that the restaurant will be embarking on a larger project: tearing down the building next door to the restaurant and installing a new outdoor patio space.

The patio will be the third for the restaurant, which currently seats a small number of guests on a covered sidewalk patio, as well as on their rooftop, where dining tables overlook the restaurant’s working rooftop garden. But the new patio will function as a new multi-purpose space for the restaurant, providing not only additional seating, but space for events and potentially new restaurant offerings.

Building next to Braise
The patio will be located on the west side of Braise Restaurant

Trading a building for a patio

The timeline for the new patio is somewhat in flux. The tear-down of the building, located just to the west of the restaurant is scheduled to begin this week, followed by asbestos abatement and city inspection. From there, the foundation will be filled in and construction will begin on the new outdoor space.

Swanson says they toyed with a number of ideas for the building, including the establishment of a market, which would sell goods produced by the restaurant and procured from local farms. However, plans changed. 

“The building was in such shape that it made more sense to tear it down than to rehab it,” he says. “The demand for outdoor seating has increased, particularly due to the pandemic, so we decided it would be smart to create additional outdoor seating.”

Building next to Braise
The building is scheduled to be torn down this week.

The vision

The vision, he says, is to create a semi-enclosed patio, which would seat about 30 guests, with a pergola to protect diners from the elements. He says that landscaping plans could include a green space, potentially an outdoor water feature, and hopefully stairs that lead to the restaurant’s rooftop.

The project will be completed with the assistance of partners including Hometown Building, which will be contracted to build the pergola, and Milaeger’s, which will handle installation of pavers for the patio.

If all goes well, Swanson says he would also like to install an outside bar, as well as an Argentinian-style grill, Swanson says, which would allow the restaurant to offer specialty grilled bites and other offerings for patio guests.

“Right now, we’re playing things by ear,” says Swanson. “The hope is that we’ll have a patio space completed in a few weeks. But much depends on inspections, as well as plumbing and electrical considerations.”

You can count on OnMilwaukee for updates on the project, and keep an eye out for more details on the Braise Instagram and Facebook feeds.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.