By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Dec 15, 2022 at 11:02 AM

A long vacant storefront at 432 E. Center St., is slated to re-open its doors as a neighborhood bar and restaurant called Cream City Social Eatery.

In fact, if all goes well, the neighborhood bar and restaurant – which has been in the works for over two years – could open as soon as January of 2023, serving up a relaxed, inviting atmosphere with an eclectic menu composed of American classics and globally-inspired plates.

Two years in the making

Behind the project is Diamond Johnson, a local real estate agent and owner of Diamond Vision Investments, LLC., an entity which has been the primary source of funding for the project.  

Johnson says that she, along with her partner Mark Campbell Jr., had been searching for a place to open a restaurant when they came across the Center Street property and signed a lease on it in October of 2019. At that point, Campbell Jr., began working on the design and layout for the space.

You can see the transformation that's taken place just by looking at the exterior of the building today versus this Google image from 2015 (zoom in and you'll see a more recent capture from 2021).

Johnson says progress slowed dramatically in March of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but picked up speed again this past summer when she took the additional step of purchasing the building in May of 2022.

Currently, she says, all major construction has been completed in the space, which has a brand new kitchen, dining room and bar, all of which are slated to be inspected by the city over the next month or so.

What to expect

Johnson, who says she's optimistic about a January opening, says that operations for the restaurant will be overseen by Campbell Jr.. Meanwhile, the kitchen will be headed up by longtime local Chef Robert Bergeron along with Geoffrey Campbell.

Together, the team will execute Cream City Social Eatery's menu, which will offer a core of familiar items including burgers, chicken and other American staples, along with an ever-changing selection of globally-inspired dishes, barbeque and plant-based dishes. A Friday night fish fry is also likely to make the cut.

Johnson says the eatery will have a full bar featuring beer, wine and cocktails along with a small stage which will accommodate entertainment including poetry nights and live music.

“Ultimately, we want to provide a safe, fun and somewhat upscale environment that’s geared towards a more mature audience,” says Johnson. “We want it to be relaxed and inviting for everyone.”

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.