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The former c.1880 restaurant at 1100 S. 1st St. is in the process of being retooled to make way for a new restaurant from the owners of Stand Eat Drink Hospitality. In fact, you can see the transformation slowly taking shape as blue and white diner-style curtains peep through the front windows. If you step closer, you’ll see tables topped with little plants, presumably part of the new restaurant’s decor.
Don’s Diner is the name of the restaurant and it’s a concept SED Culinary Director Jeff Badders describes as a "finer diner." That means craveable diner-style dishes with flavor profiles and an attention to detail that goes above and beyond.
Guests won’t have to wait very long at all to find out exactly what that means. The diner, which has been in process for a number of months, is rapidly approaching fruition. In fact, it will open its doors to the public in just over a week, on Friday, Oct. 26.
At Don’s Diner, you’ll find dishes like "Piggies in a Blanket," a dish in which bacon is nestled tastily and comfortably inside a pancake. There might also be "Meatballs and a Truffle," a dish in which a homestyle favorite is elevated by earthy, elevated flavors.
According to information released this afternoon, the end goal is to present a comfortable and affordable neighborhood diner where hospitality is at the fore. It’s a comforting place, which will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner items all day long, seven days a week. Rotating specials will keep things fresh and interesting.
In addition to well-prepared comforting dishes, the bar at Don’s will also be a draw. It will feature a menu of "Shakes, Shots and Cocktails" which features imaginative milkshakes which range from boozy to classic as well as craft cocktails.
As for the name of the diner, which begs the question: Who is Don? It turns out it’s a reference to Don Gersonde, a World War II veteran, former police captain, husband, father and grandfather of SED partner, Aaron Gersonde.
Once open, Don’s Diner will observe hours Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
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.