By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jun 03, 2020 at 3:31 PM Photography: Lori Fredrich

As staff begin returning to work at their offices, the Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 is launching an effort aimed at garnering support for Downtown restaurants.

Comeback Cuisine is the name of the initiative, which encourages companies to purchase boxed lunches for their employees as a "welcome back" or "thank you" for their continued service. Their goal is to generate the purchase of 3,000 lunches in the first 30 days.

"Our downtown restaurants have done a phenomenal job in serving downtown’s day and nighttime populations, but now it’s our turn to return the favor," noted Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 in a release on the campaign.

"We’re calling upon the downtown business community to support their neighborhood eateries in these challenging times," she says. "As well as show appreciation for employees who have remained on the frontlines or welcome back a committed workforce."

Thus far, the BID has enlisted participation from 14 area restaurants including 600 EAST Café, AJ Bombers, Benihana, Bento Xpert, Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria, The Capital Grille, Coaches Restaurant and Bar, Cubanitas, Flannery’s, Hidden Kitchen MKE, Marco Pollo, Meat On The Street, Onesto, and Smoke Shack.

The boxed lunch options offered by each restaurant range in price between $8 and $21, with lead times for orders ranging from several days’ notice to same-day service. Some restaurants also offer delivery for orders over $300.

"Comeback Cuisine is the perfect win/win. It is a great way for companies to continue to welcome their employees back to the office and to support our coveted downtown restaurants that add so much vitality to our city," says Lyle Landowski of Colliers International. "As the first company to participate, committing to 100 lunches, we encourage other downtown companies to join us in showing gratitude to our employees and restaurants that have served us all so well."

Colliers International is among a number of businesses who have already signed on for the program. Others include Crestlight Capital, Madison Medical Affiliates, PK2 Group, Reinhart Boerner Van Dueren and U.S. Bank Commercial Real Estate.

Additional downtown restaurants are welcome to join the Comeback Cuisine campaign as they reopen. Menus, which include information on placing boxed lunch orders, will be updated weekly with new participants and available for preview at

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.