By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer Published May 02, 2018 at 11:01 AM

One of Milwaukee’s multi-year James Beard semifinalists will soon take the culinary helm at the Lowlands Group restaurants, including Café Hollander, Café Benelux, Café Centraal and Café Bavaria.

The announcement comes on the heels of the April 28 closing of c.1880, a restaurant that helped change the face of the Walker's Point neighborhood.

Thomas Hauck, former chef and owner of c.1880, has accepted a position as culinary director for the swiftly growing local restaurant group.

"There were a lot of opportunities out there, but this one really appealed to me," says Hauck. "It’s definitely a change from what I was doing, but it’s also a real chance to make an impact on a growing business."

In the end, Hauck says, it’s all about making good food.

"It doesn’t matter if it’s a taco on the side of the road or the food at The French Laundry, good food is good food," he says. "And this is really about taking what they already do and elevating it. We won’t be busting out the tweezers, but we’ll be applying the same techniques and respect for food that I've employed throughout my career."

Hauck will start in late May, after which he’ll spend a few months acclimating to the position, engaging with the brand’s culture and staff and immersing himself in research, including a September trip to Belgium and the Netherlands to prepare for making changes to the Lowlands’ menus.

"We’re really excited to have Thomas join us," says Dan Herwig, director of brand and marketing at Lowlands Group. "We totally respect everything he’s done to elevate Milwaukee’s dining scene over the past few years and hope his creativity and high standards have an even broader reach through joining Lowlands."

Herwig notes that he feels Hauck’s extensive experience, including his time working in France, makes him a particularly good fit for the position. And Hauck agrees.

"Closing c.1880 was one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make," he says. "But joining Lowlands was one of the easiest. I like the people, I like the culture, and I’m excited about the direction we’re taking the culinary program."

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer

Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.

Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.