By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Nov 21, 2022 at 2:01 PM

There’s a brand new retail shop and event space coming to 2509 E. Oklahoma Ave., which will specialize in gardening supplies, plants and gifts.

Buttercup is the name of the new venue, which will be co-owned and operated by restaurateur Valeri Lucks, who also co-owns Comet Cafe, Honeypie Cafe, Palomino Bar and SmallPie and Molly Mundt, a longtime employee of Pie Inc. who holds a degree in horticulture and has a long history of expertise in plants and gardening.

“Molly helped us to open SmallPie right across the street,” notes Lucks, “She did all of our landscaping there and has helped us out with a lot of plant-related things over the years in addition to being a key player at Pie Inc.”

Lucks says that plans will depend largely on city approvals, but they hope to get the new shop up and running by April of 2023 in order to service the gardening community in the area.

“Molly will grow different types of heirloom annuals and perennials for the shop,” she says, “Including vegetables and flowers for planting outdoors. We have so many employees who are really knowledgeable in that area, so our goal is to make it a place where people can not only go to purchase plants, but also to get advice on gardening and how to grow various things.”

Along the same vein, Lucks says they’re also hoping they can offer indoor houseplants, a variety of gift items and cut flowers for folks who’d like to stop in to grab a bouquet for their homes.

“We won’t be a full service florist,” Lucks notes, “And we don’t plan to offer delivery. But there are really no local spots where you can go and just pick up a bouquet of flowers.”

Lucks and Mundt also plan to host a variety of events at Buttercup, from gardening workshops on topics like small space gardening, hops and grape growing and the like. They’ve also applied for a liquor license for the space so that they could host small events like garden-themed baby showers, birthday parties or outdoor garden parties during the summer months.

“We’d also love to host seed exchanges and perennial swaps,” Lucks adds. “Buttercup is really about developing a community and exchange of knowledge around gardening and plants.” 

Once it opens this spring, Lucks says Buttercup will be open year-round for both retail and events.

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.